H&R Block's A Fair Shot returns for another year to boost more women college athletes
The program will now support twice as many athletes in its second year.
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H&R Block is back for a second year with its A Fair Shot program to support women college athletes and announced a new partnership with Fabletics and Jambys in 2023 to raise awareness about the disparity that exists in NIL endorsements for female student-athletes compared to their male counterparts.
Jill Cress, chief marketing and experience officer of H&R Block, stated:
At H&R Block, we believe in maximum gains for everyone, and while we’ve seen some progress in closing the equity gap in college sports and NIL deals, there is still lots more work to be done.
Building on the program's initial success in 2022, which supported 19 collegiate athletes, this year's program has expanded to support 50 athletes in 13 different sports, including track and field, lacrosse, rowing, tennis, field hockey, ice hockey, and more. Some of those sports are underrepresented in the NIL space.
The program, which underscores H&R Block's purpose of providing support and inspiring confidence to its customers and communities everywhere, now also includes NCAA Division II and Division III schools, and historically Black colleges.
The empowerment of equity and inclusion
Ever since the NCAA began allowing college athletes to sign NIL deals for the use of their image and likenesses, female athletes continue to receive fewer endorsements and lower compensation than their male peers, especially those outside of the Power 5 Conferences and mainstream sports. For this reason H&R Block expanded 'A Fair Shot' to include more female athletes in 2023.
While women's basketball, volleyball and softball are among the top five highest-earning sports, other sports are still underrepresented and total compensation for women's endorsements pales in comparison in soccer.
Female college athletes are only getting 23% of #NIL compensation. We’re sponsoring 50 female student athletes to help close the gap and give them #AFairShot: https://t.co/PaoDwA1kkw pic.twitter.com/OaDHKPg0lE— H&R Block (@HRBlock) March 8, 2023
Among the new athletes H&R has added to the program, there are some standouts:
- Zia Cooke (basketball, University of South Carolina)
- Aniya Hoggatt (track & field, Florida A&M University)
- Anessa Campos (soccer, Cal State University, Northridge)
- Jordy Bahl (softball, University of Oklahoma)
The full list of A Fair Shot 2023 athletes can be found here.
“We’re excited for Fabletics and Jambys to join us in leveling the playing field for female college athletes – regardless of sport, division, location, or school size. The more like-minded brands align on doing what’s right, the closer we’ll be to realizing equity and diverse representation in collegiate athletic NIL deals, giving female athletes a fair shot at winning on and off the court, field, and track,” added Cress.
In addition to sponsorships, H&R Block is helping these athletes navigate the unique tax implications of NIL, many for the first time, by providing tax preparation services and support on key tax decisions resulting from this new income, thus setting them up for financial success.
“I’m proud to team up with H&R Block again for A Fair Shot and welcome new athletes into the mix. As we continue to navigate this male-dominated space, it’s really impressive that a brand like H&R Block is so supportive in not only spreading awareness for NIL equity in college sports, but also helping athletes understand the tax implications of the money we’re earning,” said Cooke, a guard on the National Champion University of South Carolina’s women’s basketball team and a returning A Fair Shot alumna.
For his part, Andrew Goble, co-founder and Co-CEO of Jambys, said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with H&R Block and A Fair Shot to increase sponsorship opportunities for female athletes. As a team of former college athletes ourselves, Jambys is excited to support initiatives that recognize the importance of equity in the growing NIL space. We're looking forward to seeing the impact that A Fair Shot will make.”