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Cowboys’ deal with UNT step closer

Profile image for By Julian Gill
By Julian Gill

Regents give chancellor authority to execute partnership agreement

The University of North Texas is one step closer to a multi-year agreement with the Dallas Cowboys that would make the university an exclusive partner with the organization.

During a meeting Friday morning at the UNT System Building in Dallas, the Board of Regents unanimously voted to give Chancellor Lee Jackson the authority to execute the agreement without board oversight when terms are reached. It was one of several items approved at the meeting.

The partnership would offer internship and employment opportunities for UNT students, as well as the opportunity to advertise with the organization.

“Our hope is that if we’re able to give students those opportunities, it’s going to significantly improve our enrollment growth in Collin County,” said Brint Ryan, chairman of the Board of Regents. “It’s going to be a significant boost to our new campus in Frisco, and I think it’s going to overall elevate our brand.”

According to UNT President Neal Smatresk, the deal is still in the preliminary phase, though he hopes to have something finalized by the start of the fall semester.

“We think [this opportunity] is very exciting, particularly given that every time the Cowboys announce an internship, UNT students flood their inbox,” Smatresk said.

He said the Cowboys organization would also be involved in classroom and lecture opportunities, but further details have not been worked out.

Policy update

The board also approved new sexual assault and retaliation policies that are compliant with state House Bill 699, which requires all higher education institutions to adopt policies that define prohibited behavior, provide sanctions for violations and explain the protocol for reporting sexual assaults.

The policies for all three UNT campuses were drafted by the student affairs divisions, Title IX coordinators, equity and diversity officers, offices of general counsel and institutional compliance offices.

The policy for the Denton campus is available for the public to read at

Smatresk said he hopes the new, clearer policies will make students feel more comfortable reporting sexual assault incidents.

“There’s a challenge,” he said. “Many people in college campuses are kind of unclear whether what happened to them was all right because they haven’t thought these things through or there’s embarrassment or stigma attached to it. So part of the challenge is people don’t talk.”

Recreational facility fee

The only item not approved at the meeting was a proposed $7.80 increase to the recreational facility fee at UNT.

Students already pay a fixed recreational facility fee of $78 to use the Pohl Recreation Center on campus during the fall and spring semesters, according to student accounting and university cashiering services.

Elizabeth With, vice president for student affairs, said the fee increase would allow the university to update the heating and air conditioning system, replace floors and undergo other much needed renovations in the facility. She said the increase also would help offset growing operating expenses.

Ryan said the board needed more specific financial information to make a decision. Smatresk agreed to withdraw the item from the agenda and potentially reintroduce the proposal at another board meeting.


JULIAN GILL can be reached at 940-566-6845 and via Twitter at @juliangillmusic.