Last week, the NCAA approved an interim policy for “Name, Image and Likeness” (NIL) rules that became effective on July 1.  The new policy applies to both current NCAA student-athletes in all divisions as well as prospective student-athletes currently in high school, prep school or junior college.

This policy is an “interim” policy adopted by the NCAA due to the variety of state laws that have been proposed or signed into law and the lack of over-arching Federal legislation that the NCAA has not been able to achieve.

Here are a few of the key points regarding this interim policy:

  • This policy applies to all NCAA Divisions – I, II, and III
  • Individuals – both current NCAA student-athletes and prospects – “…can engage in NIL activities that are consistent with the law of the state where the student-athlete’s school is located.”
  • For prospective student-athletes in high school or junior college, they will need to also consider whether state NIL laws will impact their eligibility under their state high school federation rules or under the NJCAA or CCCAA rules.
  • Current NCAA student-athletes attending a college or university in a state that has not yet enacted an NIL law can participate in those activities without being concerned about violating NCAA rules regarding all NIL activities.
  • College and prospective student-athletes can use a professional services provider (such as an attorney or brand marketing agency) to assist with their participation in NIL activities.
  • Athletes will also need to consider any applicable rules regarding amateur status in their particular sport.  For example, golfers who accept compensation for NIL activities may be jeopardizing their amateur status under USGA rules.

The following NCAA rules will still apply to prospects and current student-athlete:

  • An individual may not accept payment for NIL activities that require the athlete to attend a particular university.
  • An athlete accepting “Pay for Play” will still jeopardize their NCAA eligibility.  While an athlete’s athletic ability or performance in an event or a season will impact their public and social media visibility, their athletic performance or contribution to a team’s success can’t be the factor that their compensation is based on.  Their compensation should instead depend upon their social media presence or their popularity with the public – how engaged they are to promote a product or service or in signing autographs.
  • An athlete can’t receive compensation for work that they don’t do.  While they may not actually be “doing anything” if they are receiving compensation for having their picture in a product advertisement, they are granting express permission for that product or service to use their picture.  So, in essence, they are “working” in exchange for their compensation.

The NCAA has prepared a list of “Interim Policy Resources” which can be found as you scroll down on the page that is linked below:

https://www.ncaa.org/about/taking-action

While we are not familiar with the various state laws that have been enacted across the country regarding NIL, we will do our best to answer your questions about NIL if you have questions that you’re not ready to pose to a college coach or compliance office.  Contact us at rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235.

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