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NCAA D-I Council Recommends Opening Up NIL Rights

Brock Fritz

College athletes are on the doorstep of legally receiving financial benefits for the first time in the history of the NCAA.

The name, image and likeness movement took another step Monday, when the NCAA’s Division I Council recommended that the association cease its amateurism rules. The NCAA Division I Board of Directors will review Wednesday what the D-I Council is calling an interim NIL policy, while Division II and Division III committees will also vote on the recommendation.

The expectation is that the recommendation will be approved just in time for state NIL statutes in eight states — Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, Tennessee and Texas — to go into effect on July 1. A total of 23 states have passed laws allowing college athletes to benefit from their name, image and likeness, as the movement started to become inevitable once California’s law passed in 2019.

The NCAA’s release said that, “If adopted by the board, the temporary action would remain in place until federal legislation or new NCAA rules are adopted.”

Related: NCAA to Ban Performance Considerations in NIL Deals

The policy recommended by the Division I Council provides the following guidance:

  • College athletes 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. 
  • Student-athletes who attend a school in a state without a NIL law can engage in this type of activity without violating NCAA rules related to name, image and likeness.
  • College athletes 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 interim NIL policy would allow schools and conferences to adopt their own policies. The NCAA added that, “While opening NIL activities to student-athletes, the policy leaves in place the commitment to avoid pay-for-play and improper inducements tied to choosing to attend a particular school. Those prohibitions would remain in effect.”

According to The Washington Post, NIL rules would allow athletes to profit through social media posts, appearances, sponsorships, autograph sales, endorsement deals and private training classes or camps.

Related: Louisville AD Tyra: Six-Figure Deals Likely in NIL Era

The NCAA has been hoping to adopt a nationwide law before the state laws start to divide athletes’ rights.

“By July, all our athletes should be provided NIL opportunities regardless of the state they happen to live in,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said earlier this month. “We must act to ensure that fair opportunities, consistent with our values, are provided to all student-athletes.”

Related: Emmert to Schools: NIL Opportunities for All by July

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