NCAA DI Council Approves Institutional Involvement With NIL Activity

The Division I Council, a group responsible for policy changes within the NCAA DI level, adopted a proposal that allows schools to provide direct assistance to college athletes regarding name, image, and likeness opportunities.

Upon the emergence of the interim NIL policy in July 2021, colleges and universities could “be a resource for state law questions” as college athletes were permitted the ability to engage in NIL activities consistent with the state law in which their school was located. College athletes were also allowed to use a professional for NIL services and were encouraged to disclose NIL activities to their schools. However, institutions were strictly prohibited from directly engaging in or facilitating deals.

The NCAA describes the new rule as one that would allow member schools to “increase NIL-related support for student-athletes, including identifying NIL opportunities and facilitating deals between student-athletes and third parties.” Though the option would be provided to college athletes, they would not be obligated to accept such assistance.

The Four Elements of College Athlete Protection

The NCAA aims to provide protection and resources to “offer student-athletes the benefit of a better understanding about what a reasonable agreement might be for them.”

  • Voluntary Registration

“The NCAA will establish a voluntary registration process for NIL service providers (agents, financial advisors, etc.) to serve as a centralized source for providers interested in working with student-athletes. A national, centralized registration process that collects and publishes information on service providers interested in working with student-athletes will assist student-athletes with making informed decisions as they select their service providers. The details of the process will be finalized and then monitored by a to-be-determined committee to ensure it meets the needs of student-athletes.”

  • Disclosure Requirements

“Student-athletes will be required to disclose to their schools information related to [any] NIL agreement exceeding $600 in value, no later than 30 days after entering or signing the NIL agreement. The data will include contact information for involved parties and service providers, terms of the arrangement (services rendered, term length, compensation, and payment structure), and applicable compensation between a student-athlete and service provider. Prospective student-athletes will be required to disclose the same information within 30 days of enrollment.

“Data will be de-identified and provided to the NCAA (or a designee) at least twice per year. The NCAA will use that information to develop an aggregated database so college athletes can better understand trends in NIL agreements and so the national office and member schools can make informed decisions about NIL-related policy.

“More than 20 state laws require college athletes to disclose NIL agreements. The rule adopted by the council now establishes a “consistent national requirement.”

  • Standardized Contracts

“The NCAA will work with schools to provide student-athletes with robust education on contractual obligations, including developing a template contract and recommended contract terms, to ensure student-athletes and their families make informed decisions about NIL agreements.”

  • Comprehensive NIL Education

“The NCAA will develop a comprehensive plan to provide ongoing education and resources to support student-athletes (and those assisting student-athletes) on policies, rules, and best practices pertaining to NIL. Education will be provided to other key stakeholders, as well.”

A Substantial Shift

Morgyn Wynne, the Division I College Athlete Advisory Committee Vice Chair, believes the adopted legislation provides a sense of stability in “a very unstable environment” as “these changes are what student-athletes need as a resource to help realistically guide them through conversations of brand worth”.

This proposal marks a substantial shift from the NCAA’s traditional model that preserved amateurism to a model that allows athletes to capitalize on their brands with the help of their institutions. The approval of institutional involvement with NIL-related opportunities is yet another major shift to the NCAA landscape. Under these new reforms, Division I colleges can provide guidance and resources such as educational programs, financial planning services, and access to professional counsel to help their athletes navigate NIL opportunities effectively.

Such reforms further contribute to the empowerment of college athletes and the modernization of the collegiate sports industry. The NCAA has been forced to acknowledge the evolving landscape of college athletics by allowing athletes to profit off their likenesses.

Questions remain unanswered regarding how schools will navigate the complexities of NIL regulations, ensuring compliance with state laws, and maintaining fairness and equity across different sports programs. One of the main concerns of institutional involvement lies with the differentiation between NIL compensation and the NCAA’s continued prohibition of pay-for-play payment.

The approval of the NIL reforms proves yet another significant step forward in addressing the ongoing legal debate regarding athlete amateurism and profitability. These reforms have the potential to drastically alter the collegiate sports landscape by allowing institutions to have direct involvement with NIL-related endeavors.

The unanimous adoption of the proposal addressing college athlete protections related to NIL activities will be effective August 1, 2024.

Leave a Reply

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

No Comments Yet.