The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has officially adopted interim policy changes that will allow college athletes the opportunity to benefit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL). This change comes on the heels of NCAA v. Alston, discussed here, where the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that the NCAA violated anti-trust laws when it limited education-related benefits a college or university could offer student athletes. We previously wrote about the NCAA’s adoption of a new rule allowing elite Olympic and Paralympic athletes to have “additional training expenses” paid without jeopardizing their NCAA eligibility. This new policy goes well beyond the NCAA’s previous rule.
This policy change also comes right as select states’ laws go into effect that allow students to profit from their NIL rights. Without this policy change, a college athlete going to school in one state would have been able to earn money from their NIL without worrying about their college eligibility, while a student in another state would risk violating NCAA rules.
Some of the policy changes also include allowing college athletes to enter into sponsorship and endorsement deals, to get compensated for making personal appearances and signing autographs, and to work with agents. College athletes will have opportunities unlike ever before, which in turn means brands will have new audiences to reach if they choose to enter into deals with student athletes.
However, this journey is far from over. The NCAA views this policy change as temporary as it waits either for (a) Congress to pass federal legislation addressing the problem or (b) new NCAA permanent rules to be approved.
Takeaway: Uniformity is key. The temporary policy the NCAA implemented was important to avoid a scenario where students in one state could profit off their NIL rights, while others could not. This change opens up possibilities for brands and student athletes alike.