Yesterday, the NCAA’s Board of Governors voted unanimously to begin the legislative process that will permit NCAA student-athletes to benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness “in a manner consistent with the collegiate model.”

This vote regarding the potential use of an athlete’s “name, image, or likeness” (commonly referred to as “NIL”) paves the way for student-athletes to potentially receive payment for their autographs, for personal appearances, and for their picture or image (and possibly their voice) to promote commercial products and services.

Developing these new rules will certainly be no easy task.

The Board in conjunction with a “Federal and State Legislation Working Group” has established a list of principles and guidelines to direct the work of the NCAA, conferences, and university representatives in all three divisions as they develop and propose appropriate legislation to be considered by NCAA member institutions.

Among these principles and guidelines are the following:

  • “Ensure rules are transparent, focused and enforceable and facilitate fair and balanced competition.”
  • “Protect the recruiting environment and prohibit inducements to select, remain at, or transfer to a specific institution.”
  • “Maintain the priorities of education and the collegiate experience to provide opportunities for student-athlete success.”

As you might imagine, I have many questions as to how this will play out over the coming months.

  • For example, how will the NCAA create rules that will allow campus compliance administrators to determine, much less enforce how much a student-athlete’s signature, personal appearance at an event, or use of likeness is worth?
  • How will standards be set such that universities with large alumni bases and/or that are located in large metropolitan areas with thousands of businesses won’t have a recruiting advantage over mid-major and smaller universities in the Midwest or great plains states because of the endorsement opportunities that will be available to athletes at those larger universities?

The Board of Governors has expressed a desire for each NCAA division to come up with new rules as soon as possible, but no later than January 2021. For the full NCAA press release, click on this link:  https://bit.ly/2JxUsu8.

We’ll keep you updated as we learn more.  In the meantime, if you have any questions call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

 

On Monday, September 30, Governor Gavin Newsom signed California Senate Bill 206 which will permit student-athletes at California four-year colleges to accept compensation for the use of their name, likeness, or personal appearance which is contrary to current NCAA rules.

The Bill will not take effect until January 1, 2023.

The NCAA Board of Governors has stated their opposition to the Bill. Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith is chairing an NCAA committee that is tasked with review of the current NCAA rules regarding endorsement legislation and considering possible changes to those rules.

Reaction from Universities Outside the State of California

Initial reaction from athletic directors at major universities outside California is concern about the unfair recruiting advantage that California colleges will have. These universities are also expressing reluctance to schedule competition against California colleges in the future.

In fact, the California colleges and universities won’t be eligible for NCAA post-season competition if this issue isn’t resolved before Senate Bill 206 becomes effective in 2023.

My Thoughts on This Issue

Many are in favor of student-athletes having the opportunity to benefit from the exposure that they bring to their college teams. However, given my 25+ years working on-campus in NCAA compliance, I have many thoughts about how this will affect student-athletes and athletic departments as a whole.

Does a star athlete bring exposure to their team, or is it the other way around?

For example, would a star athlete at USC or UCLA have as much “value” when endorsing a product if they were instead playing for Cal Baptist or UC-Santa Barbara?

How will this affect student-athletes in non-revenue sports?

If local businesses that support a college athletic department choose to instead pay student-athletes directly for endorsing their business, could this result in fewer dollars from local businesses supporting the non-revenue sports like swimming, track and field, rowing, wresting and have a negative impact on those sports?

Will endorsements have an affect on the way an athlete competes?

Say for example, a star basketball player is receiving $100,000 or more from a booster to endorse that booster’s business. Will the player listen to the coach’s instructions if he’s told that he’s to pass to a teammate for the last-second shot or will he take the shot himself?

Will offensive linemen let the quarterback get sacked as retaliation if the quarterback isn’t sharing his endorsement dollars by purchasing meals or other items for the linemen?

Similarly, will the infielders and outfielders provide solid defense for a starting pitcher who’s receiving large fees for endorsements as the projected #1 pick in the upcoming major league baseball draft?

Could the colleges and universities in California choose to leave the NCAA to form their own statewide athletic governing body?

That would be possible, since the California community colleges already have their own California Community College Athletic Association which is completely separate from the National Junior College Athletic Association.

It seems to me, however, that such a move could severely damage the bargaining power and potential revenue from ESPN, Fox Sports, and other networks and streaming services that currently provide a substantial portion of revenues received by those NCAA universities.

In Summary

There are no specific answers to any of these concerns at this time, but it’s a topic that will be interesting to follow in the upcoming months and years.

At the recent NCAA Regional Rules Workshop, NCAA staff announced the rollout of a new Degree Completion Assistance Program for former DI basketball athletes who qualify.

Effective August 1, 2019, NCAA Division I athletic programs will be required to provide tuition, fees, and books (but not room and board) for their former men’s and women’s basketball athletes who meet all of the following criteria:

  • Participated at that particular university in men’s or women’s basketball;
  • Received an athletic scholarship from the university;
  • Were enrolled at the university for at least two academic years;
  • Satisfied Progress-Toward-Degree requirements at the time the athlete left campus;
  • Has not attended another university as a full-time student since departure;
  • Satisfies university re-admission and financial aid requirements;
  • Departed the university within the last 10 years; AND
  • Has exhausted other degree completion funding opportunities (such as the NBA Tuition Reimbursement program).

Athletes who might qualify for this program should contact the Compliance office at the university where they played basketball.

In the past week, we’ve heard about wealthy families who used illegal “side-door” tactics for their son or daughter to be admitted to prestigious universities.  In some cases, they were led by William “Rick” Singer to falsely represent their kids as highly talented or elite athletes.

Why did some families falsely represent their child as a student-athlete?

Most university athletic departments have a limited number of “exemption slots.”  These slots are typically used for talented high school athletes who fall short of the university’s standard academic requirements for admission. Coaches are often allowed to use a few of these “exemptions” for athletes they recruit.

Some of the federally indicted wealthy parents created fake athlete credentials and “bought” exemption slots.  Their kids bumped legitimate student-athletes who then lost the opportunity to be admitted.

There are many stories of legitimate student-athletes who were initially admitted through an exemption slot and then went on to excel in the classroom.  I’ve seen first-hand and talked to many of these former student-athletes whose lives were changed because of academic support systems that are available to student-athletes.

The missed opportunities is what has caused such outrage among families and those of us in the industry who do things ethically.

My Advice to Parents of High School Athletes

When high school athletes excel academically, they are at an advantage and stand a much better chance of satisfying the standard admission requirements. A strong academic athlete doesn’t have to worry as much about exemption slots and being bumped out of an admission opportunity.

So my advice to parents is that their high school athletes should focus on their academics as much or more than they do on their sport!

What Happens Next

Going forward, I believe we all should assume that ACT and SAT administrators are going to be looking much more closely at “unusual” circumstances such as those reported in this scandal.

If your athlete takes the ACT or SAT test at a location far from their home, there will be more scrutiny. In those cases, students will need to explain why and perhaps show “proof” of that reason.

As potential fall-out continues, I’ll be posting updates both on our website and through our weekly eblast.  If you have questions or concerns, give us a call at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

Student-athletes in all sports at NCAA Division II colleges and universities will get a few days to step away from their sport and enjoy time with family and friends due to the week-long Division II “Winter Break” which starts next week

During the period from December 20-26, Division II coaches are not permitted to require that their student-athletes participate in any countable athletically-related activities (games, practices, conditioning workouts, team meetings, etc.).

Furthermore, student-athletes who may be staying on campus during this period of Dec. 20-26 (such as international student-athletes) or those who live near their campus are not allowed to participate in any voluntary athletic activities in a campus facility unless that facility is open to the general student population during this period.

For questions about NCAA rules, contact us at rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235 to schedule a confidential phone consultation.

As part of Informed Athlete’s commitment to providing accurate information to our clients and newsletter subscribers, we attend the annual NCAA Regional Rules Seminar every year.
I’ll be attending the seminar from June 4-6, 2018 where I’ll have the opportunity to discuss important topics related to transfers, waivers & appeals, eligibility, scholarships, and recruiting rules with NCAA staff members and many of my friends in the compliance business.  I am especially interesting in hearing progress updates from the NCAA Transfer Rules Working Group!
If you’d like to see a list of topics to be discussed, click here:  http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/events/regional-rules-seminars.
Watch for Informed Athlete’s weekly newsletter where I’ll include updates on key items from the sessions.
My available time for consultation calls will be limited while I’m attending the seminar, but I’ll be checking phone and email messages and will respond when I can.  You can leave a message at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

Last week at the annual NCAA Convention in Indianapolis, proposed rule changes were voted on by Division I, II, and III representatives.

Here’s a brief summary of some of the rule changes most important to student-athletes and their families.

**NCAA Division I “Power Five” universities will be required, effective August 1, 2018, to provide student-athletes with medical care for athletically-related injuries for at least two years after an athlete graduates or leaves their university.  Each university will have the discretion to determine whether an injury is athletically-related, how it will provide the medical care, and to establish policies for implementing the medical care.

**NCAA Division I universities that are not in the “Power Five” group will have the option to follow the same rule but will not be required to do so.

**“Power Five” universities also voted to allow men’s ice hockey athletes who have not yet attended college to be represented by an agent if they are drafted by a professional ice hockey team.  This rule change is effective immediately.

Hockey athletes using an agent will be required to pay the agent the going rate for their services and to terminate the agreement with the agent prior to full-time collegiate enrollment if the athlete does not sign a contract with the professional team.  This same rule was approved for high school baseball recruits drafted by a professional team two years ago.

**Rule changes regarding recruiting by NCAA Division I coaches were approved at the committee level to move forward through the NCAA legislative process but won’t be voted on until April 2018 at the earliest.

These proposals will restrict recruits in all sports other than basketball and football from making unofficial visits prior to Sept. 1 of their junior year of high school BUT at the same time will allow Division I programs to provide official visits to recruits as early as Sept. 1 of their junior year.

**NCAA Division II proposals were limited to the starting dates for football and volleyball seasons, revising the penalties for sports gambling by athletes and coaches, and allowing universities in Mexico to apply for membership in the NCAA.

**Students who graduate from an NCAA Division III college will be allowed to compete as a graduate student (or one seeking a second undergraduate degree) at a different Division III college, as long as the student has eligibility remaining.

If you have questions about NCAA rules, contact us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Perfect Game and Informed Athlete announce the formation of an affiliate partnership effective immediately.  Through this partnership, Rick Allen of Informed Athlete will serve as a resource and advisor to Perfect Game regarding NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA rules related to recruiting, eligibility, scholarships, and transfers. Allen will also write monthly articles for the Perfect Game website and provide fee-based confidential consultations to Perfect Game athletes and parents.

Jerry Ford, Founder and President of Perfect Game said:
“I have known Rick Allen for a long time and respect him a lot. He is an absolute expert in his field. When it comes to NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA rules and regulations, he’s as good as it gets.”

Rick Allen, Founder and President of Informed Athlete, says
“Jerry Ford is a pioneer in the world of showcase opportunities for young baseball players nationwide and internationally. We appreciate his strong support for Informed Athlete and are excited to partner with him and Perfect Game to provide information and resources to baseball players and their parents regarding college athletic recruiting, scholarship, and eligibility information. This opportunity will greatly increase Informed Athlete’s name recognition with baseball players and their families worldwide.”

About Perfect Game
Perfect Game is considered to be the elite amateur baseball scouting organization in existence, producing over 100 tournaments and showcases each year across the country. Perfect Game is dedicated to giving amateur players exposure to take their game to the next level, whether that be in college or in the professional ranks.

At Perfect Game events, players are performing with top level competition in front of college recruiters and professional scouts from all over the country. Because of this, these events prove to be invaluable to the college coaches as well as Major League Baseball as they can scout a large population of talented ballplayers in one location. To date, 656 players that have played in a Perfect Game event have also played in Major League Baseball. Since 2003, 7,572 Perfect Game alumni have been selected in the MLB First-Year Amateur Player Draft.

About Informed Athlete
Informed Athlete was founded by Rick Allen and Julie Allen in 2008 to help high school and college athletes and their parents navigate through the often overwhelming and complex college recruiting and transfer process.

Informed Athlete provides accurate information, education, and advice on issues related to recruiting, eligibility, scholarships, and transfers for NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA rules. Their websites include: http://informedathlete.com/ and a subscription-based learning resource center: http://informedathleteuniversity.com/.

Rick Allen’s credentials include:

  •  25+ years NCAA rules expertise, including Director of Compliance at 2 major DI schools
  • Current member and former President of National Association for Athletic Compliance (NAAC)
  • Conducts compliance reviews and audits NCAA schools throughout the U.S.
  • Consults with NAIA schools transitioning to NCAA status
  • Dad of a DI & DII student-athlete who is also a Perfect Game alum

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 21, 2015

Austin Steines
Perfect Game Inc.
319-298-2923 ext 116

Austin@perfectgame.org
Rick Allen
Informed Athlete®
913-766-1235
rick@informedathlete.com