by Vic DeNardi Head of NIL and Education
What does NIL mean?
On July 1, 2021 College Sports underwent its most radical change ever. On that day the NCAA suspended its rules regarding Student Athletes profiting off their Name, Image or Likeness (NIL). Since its inception the NCAA insisted its Student Athletes remain amateurs and not profit from their participation in college athletics but after years of complaints and numerous states passing laws regarding NIL the NCAA had no choice but to allow its Student Athletes to finally use their Name, Image or Likeness to make money.
So there are no rules?
Not exactly. While the NCAA suspended their rules regarding NIL all other NCAA rules are still applicable. There are two key points related to NCAA rules and NIL. First, there can be no “Pay for Play” type deals, in other words, Student Athletes are prohibited from receiving compensation for simply being on an athletics team, Student Athletes must perform some sort of service (tweet, advertise, sign autographs etc.) for their compensation. The other key point is there cannot be any quid pro quo arrangements related to recruiting and NIL — in other words a school can not promise a recruit an NIL deal in exchange for attending said institution.
As of November 19, 2021, 28 states have passed some version of an NIL bill allowing Student Athletes to profit off their Name, Image or Likeness. In 17 of those states the laws have already taken effect, the others have various effective dates. The laws are not uniform and you should investigate any applicable state laws.
Are there any other rules I need to be aware of?
Yes. While the NCAA has suspended its rules regarding NIL, individual conferences can establish their own rules regarding NIL. Additionally Universities/Colleges can also implement NIL rules for their Student Athletes. The rules can relate to requiring Student Athletes to register their deals with the school, use of school trademarks among other things.
I want to sign an NIL deal. What should I do?
You should check with your school’s Compliance Office to ensure that any deal you sign complies with all the laws/rules listed about. Additionally they can tell you if you need to register your deal with the school. It’s important to note that while the Compliance Office can tell you if your deal complies with all those regulations, they cannot tell you if it is a “good deal” for you personally/financially, those decisions are up to you personally.
To learn more about how college athletes can profit off of their NIL, visit Draft.ly.