Branden Durst in a 2022 interview with KTVB 7. Branden Durst in a 2022 interview with KTVB 7. (KTVB 7.)

There are a number of promotions out there to lower the cost of buying NFL Sunday Ticket from Google/YouTube, from offers to cover the cost from DirecTV and Verizon through discounts from Comcast, Frontier, TCL, FanDuel and more. One more specifically-targeted promotion is a much cheaper cost for active post-secondary students. Those kinds of discounts for students are offered by many companies, and they’re sometimes used by people who aren’t actually students.

But it’s unusual to see a public official apparently lobbying on his public social media profile for a student to sign up for Sunday Ticket at that discount and pass the login information on to him. That’s what seems to have happened with newly-appointed West Bonner School District (based in Priest River, Idaho) superintendent Brandon Durst, though. On Sunday, Christa Hazel, a former school board trustee, shared screenshots of Durst seemingly doing that, and said he later deleted the posts.

Here are some details on YouTube’s student plan, which costs $109 (without RedZone, $119 with) versus the $399 (without YouTube TV or RedZone, $439 with RedZone) regular cost, from CNET’s Eli Blumenthal. Blumenthal spells out that it is intended for active students, and may require proof of enrollment, including student ID cards or tuition receipts:

As with student deals offered by other companies, Google is relying on a third party (in this case SheerID) to verify that you are actively enrolled in an “accredited college or university.” In some cases, YouTube notes, you may need to submit proof of enrollment through a student ID card, tuition receipt or class schedule to verify that you’re eligible. 

It is worth noting that the discounted student version of Sunday Ticket is a bit more limited than the regular-priced counterparts. YouTube says that this plan won’t allow for family sharing and will allow for only “one signed-in device and one concurrent stream at a time.” 

This is far from the first controversy with Durst. He’s a former state legislator and long-time political figure who was condemned by Idaho Republican leadership last year for “egregious conduct,” including “confronting and threatening retaliation against a senator,” after that senator (Jim Woodward, R-Sandpoint) voted against introducing a parental rights draft bill Durst presented. Also last year (while he was a candidate for state superintendent of education), The Idaho Statesman explored Durst’s legal history, where he was accused of allowing child abuse against his son, had a temporary domestic violence protection order filed against him, and was found to be in contempt of court over his parenting agreement with his ex-wife. His campaign responded with the following statement:

“These allegations are what happens when the liberal media (like the Idaho Statesman), leftist courts, a bitter ex-wife and a desperate political opponent work together to try to discredit a conservative candidate,” Durst’s campaign wrote in an email to the Statesman. “It is an old tired playbook conservatives have seen over and over. We know that the allegations are baseless.”

Durst, who has also worked as an analyst for the Idaho Freedom Foundation, was appointed to the West Bonner superintendent role in June despite raised concerns over his lack of a background working in K-12 education. That’s led to an attempt to recall some of the trustees who approved his contract, which comes with a reported base salary of $110,000. And Daniel Walters explored many of the criticisms on Durst and his moves with the school district so far in a July piece at non-profit investigative journalism site InvestigateWest, titled “How A New Idaho Superintendent Is Tapping Far-Right Connections To Refashion A School District.”

Durst has sparked controversy with some moves since then, too. Those include an announcement earlier this month of a decision “to prevent female athletes from competing against biological males,” debates about his background check, and more. And now, according to these social media posts, Durst is facing more criticisms for his apparent attempt to get a Sunday Ticket discount intended for students.

[Christa Hazel on Twitter; top image of Durst from a 2022 interview with KTVB 7]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.