NIL for
Student
Athletes

NCAA, state and federal laws and guidelines continue to evolve relating to the right of student athletes to monetize their name, image and likeness. We aim to cover the latest news and provide education and resources for administrators, coaches and student athletes.

Disclaimer: This information is made available for educational purposes.  It provides general information and is not intended to provide specific legal advice. This information should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.

Paige Bueckers NIL deal for Gatorade

How to Get Started with NIL

Not sure how to get started with NIL? We’ve put together a guide to help athletes and parents navigate this new and evolving space.

NIL Deals by Type

Although it’s impossible to cover every NIL deal, we’ve been reporting on NIL deals since Day 1

and have a wide variety of deals categorized by type below.

FAQs on NIL

Disclaimer: This information is made available for educational purposes.  It provides general information and is not intended to provide specific legal advice. This information should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.

What is name, image and likeness?

Name, image and likeness, or “NIL” as it’s called, refers to a student athlete’s ability to earn money from their personal brand. This can be getting paid to sign autographs, coach lessons/clinics, post on their social media, appear at a restaurant and more.

In July 2021, the NCAA and multiple states, made it allowable for the first time for college student athletes to monetize their NIL. The NAIA similarly passed legislation in October.

The overarching rule is that student athletes cannot be paid to attend a specific school or for their performance as an athlete. From there, state laws and institutional policies govern the types of brands they can work with, if/how they can use the institutions logos and other intellectual property and other rules.

What is the NCAA NIL rule?

The NCAA’s interim NCAA policy passed in June 2021, has three primary provisions:

  • Individuals can engage in NIL activities that are consistent with the law of the state where the school is located. Colleges and universities are responsible for determining whether those activities are consistent with state law.
  • College athletes who attend a school in a state without an NIL law can engage in this type of activity without violating NCAA rules related to name, image and likeness.
  • Individuals can use a professional services provider for NIL activities.
  • Student-athletes should report NIL activities consistent with state law or school and conference requirements to their school.

The NCAA has also issued clarifications to those rules.

New proposals to protect student athletes were adopted in January 2024

  • Voluntary Registration: NIL service providers (like agents and financial advisors) will be able to register at a central source specifically meant for student-athlete use in vetting their representation options.
  • Disclosure Requirements: Student-athletes will be required to disclose to their schools any information relating to NIL agreements exceeding $600 no more than 30 days after entering into an agreement. This remedies issues with conflicting state laws regarding disclosure across the country by setting a national standard. Data collected will be aggregated and used in a database meant for student-athlete use.
  • Standardized Contracts: The NCAA will team up with schools to educate student-athletes on contractual obligations. In doing so, it will develop templates for contracts and standardized terms to help student-athletes make the smartest decisions for themselves.
  • Comprehensive NIL Education: The NCAA will develop a framework to provide education and resources to student-athletes on NIL policies, rules, etc.

NCAA President Charlie Baker has also asked the Division I Council in January 2024 to develop guidelines for “Project D1,” which would fundamentally change current NIL rules and regulations.

Can NCAA athletes have agents?

Yes, NCAA student athletes can engage with agents, attorneys and financial advisors, but the scope must be limited to activities related to their NIL and cannot extend beyond the end of their eligibility or graduation.

What are examples of name, image and likeness?

Student athletes are monetizing their name, image and likeness with:

  • Social media marketing
  • Camps/clinics
  • Appearances
  • Autographs/memorabilia
  • Group licensing
  • Merchandise
  • Affiliate/ambassador roles
  • NFTs
  • Blogging
  • Podcasting
  • Public Speaking
  • Music, art, etc.
  • Entrepreneurship
Can international athletes do NIL deals?

The NCAA does allow international student athletes to do NIL deals, but the terms of their student visas impose limitations. Visit our NIL for International Athletes guide.

What is an NIL collective?

A collective is an organization formed to benefit student athletes, usually at a specific institution. The models vary somewhat, but the basic premise of most is that an alum, or group of alums, band together to form a company whose goal is to provide NIL opportunities to student athletes of that institution. How they find or provide those opportunities is where the models really differ.

Check out our directory of NIL collectives.

Is there a cap on NIL deals?

No, there is no cap on NIL deals. Capping NIL deals would likely violate antitrust laws unless student athletes were able to collectively bargain the terms of such a cap.

Do student athletes pay taxes on NIL deals?

Income on NIL deals is taxable and must be reported on the athlete’s federal and state tax returns or their parents’ tax returns. Most athletes are paid on NIL deals as independent contractors or in free product.

Does NIL money come from the college?

No, colleges and athletic departments are not allowed to pay student athletes directly for NIL deals under current NCAA guidelines, although “Project D1” proposed by NCAA President Charlie Baker would allow it.

Latest NIL News

NIL Services

NIL Workshops/Speaking

From student athletes to athletic administrators and coaches, Kristi leads workshops to help everyone understand and leverage NIL better.

NIL Consulting

Need to tap into the knowledge of someone covering the NIL landscape on a daily basis? Kristi is available for short-term or long-term consulting.