New Virginia Law Allows Schools to Negotiate NIL Deals Directly with Athletes

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Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin signed House Bill 1505 into law on Thursday, allowing state colleges and universities to compensate their own student-athletes through NIL deals without restriction from the NCAA.

As reported by Sports Illustrated, the law will take effect on July 1 and will be the first in any state in the U.S. to prohibit the NCAA from punishing a school for offering direct compensation to its athletes through NIL. The law states that student-athletes are not considered employees of the school and the schools are still prohibited from paying athletes directly for their performance, but schools can allocate university, athletic department or other school funds toward athletes for the purposes of marketing campaigns, according to Matt Newton, reporting for SI..

"If this law gets us closer to a federal or a national solution for college athletics then it will be more than worthwhile," said University of Virginia athletic director Carla Williams, who was present for the signing. "Until then, we have an obligation to ensure we maintain an elite athletics program at UVA."

"Schools in Virginia will be the first in the country to be able to legally sign NIL deals with their own players, though the governing bodies of each of those schools have to approve the policies for such procedures," Newton wrote. "Since UVA administrators played such a direct role in the passing of this bill, it should be expected that the University's Board of Visitors will be on board with this initiative as well, and that by July 1, UVA will be able to roll out NIL-based strategies that will make the Cavaliers much more competitive in the NIL landscape."

Williams says there is still much to be determined about how the new bill will change how UVA operates in the realm of NIL, including its relationship with Cav Futures, UVA's NIL collective.

“The law provides much-needed and practical flexibility,” Williams said in a resent interview, “but we haven’t made any decisions about which provisions within the law we’ll actually activate. We’ll continue to support Cav Futures, we’ll continue to discuss our options internally, we’ll monitor the environment, we’ll talk with our coaches, our student-athletes, and we’ll make a decision that’s best for UVA.”

"We are thankful to the state Legislature and governor Youngkin for their proactive work in the NIL space," Viriginia Tech athletic director Whit Babcock said, according to a report at hokiesports.com. "We take care of our student-athletes and recognize the value they bring to ensure the longstanding success of our athletic programs.

"Not only does this position us more competitively among other states during this critical time, but it also allows for more school involvement as we continue to enhance our recruiting and retention efforts to bring the most talented student-athletes to Virginia Tech."

The law seeks to make NIL operations more streamlined through school involvement. Bringing NIL operations in-house will enable schools to efficiently manage monitoring and funding. Simultaneously, donors will no longer face the dilemma of allocating funds between a collective for NIL or directly to the athletic department for scholarships and facilities, hokiesports.com reported.. 

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