New Title IX Revisions Set to Impact NIL and the NCAA Landscape

The Biden Administration’s proposed changes to Title IX regulations come at the intersection of other major developments within NCAA athletics as name, image, and likeness rights for NCAA athletes evolve.

Biden’s Title IX Revisions

Passed in 1972, Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex in any educational program that receives federal funding. Under Title IX, athletic departments must provide equitable treatment to both male and female athletes, as well as resolve accusations of sexual misconduct. Biden’s proposed changes would introduce new regulations and guidelines regarding how schools are to handle sexual assault and harassment allegations.

According to the 1,577-page document delving into the specifics of the legislation, “The purpose of these amendments is to better align the Title IX regulatory requirements with Title IX’s nondiscrimination mandate.”

Sportico addressed how the new revisions would make it harder to rebut sexual assault and harassment allegations while no longer requiring schools to hold live hearings that provide the opportunity for cross-examination. Although this would allow victims to avoid facing their attacker in court, it challenges and potentially undermines the Sixth Amendment, guaranteeing the right to due process of confronting and cross-examining witnesses in criminal trials.

Additionally, the new revision expands the scope of sexual harassment claims by rewording the rule from “severe, pervasive and objectively offensive” to simply “severe or pervasive.” The definition of sex-based discrimination is broadened under these revisions to include “gender identity” to serve as additional protection for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Relation to NIL

The NCAA, previously arguing that college athletes are amateurs rather than employees, is having to reconsider its classification as NIL has allowed athletes to capitalize on their brands through endorsements, sponsorships, and other commercial ventures. These opportunities are providing a transition away from the old amateurism model that once prevented athletes from profiting on their NIL.

Biden’s Title IX revisions intersect with the expansion of NIL rights, raising concerns about potential exploitation and abuse regarding issues of gender equity and sexual harassment. For example, unique challenges may arise when navigating sports event competitions, endorsement opportunities, and fair compensation negotiations between genders.

The Biden administration’s proposed changes to Title IX regulations not only prompt universities to crack down on the regulation of sexual misconduct cases involving college athletes but also have additional effects on NIL rights, recruiting, and compliance efforts.

Reshaping the NCAA Landscape

The ongoing debate regarding the employment status of NCAA athletes is currently being challenged by many different legal cases since the introduction of NIL laws. Recent NLRB complaints and the Northwestern, Notre Dame, and Dartmouth men’s basketball teams and the USC football and men’s and women’s basketball teams attempting to unionize are a display of the argument that the time and effort athletes dedicate to their sports resembles that of employees, calling for higher compensation and labor rights.

NCAA president Charlie Baker’s proposition from last year claiming that Division I colleges should be able to pay athletes directly for their NIL is another example of how NIL and the status of college athletes are restructuring the NCAA. Sportico summarized this proposition as one that could “see long-standing legal defenses evaporate and the line between athlete and employee fade.”

For example, law HB1505, signed by Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, prevents the NCAA from prohibiting Virginia colleges from directly compensating athletes on their NIL. Sportico described this action as a fundamental risk for colleges using compensation as an enticement to attend or not later transfer from a school, classifying the pay-for-play payment as against NCAA amateurism rules.

With new revisions to Title IX regulations, the continuing evolution of NIL rights, and increasing conversations of college athlete status as employees and unionization attempts, it is safe to say that the NCAA landscape is changing daily. At the intersection of all these revisions lies a version of college athletics that has not been seen before.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

No Comments Yet.