As the NIL World Turns 

NCAA and NIL Background 

The NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) is a nonprofit organization, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, that regulates student athletics among 1,100 schools in the United States. It also organizes the athletic programs of colleges and helps over 500,000 college student-athletes who compete annually in college sports. The NCAA oversees a total of 24 sports in men’s and women’s leagues and generates $1.28 billion in revenue.  

NIL stands for “name, image and likeness” and has become the acronym for collegiate student-athletes ability to monetize their success through endorsements or sponsorships outside of the school funded scholarships and benefits. Before July 1, 2021, the NCAA restricted any student-athletes to receive profits from their NIL but that summer, due to various pressures from state legislation, they lifted this restriction and through their interim NIL policy allowed student-athletes to use their NIL for profit. Since then, the NIL has transformed college athletics and created a very profitable avenue for collegiate student-athletes. The NIL market is worth an estimated $1 billion annually. 

These past few weeks there have been continued changes regarding NIL from a legal perspective and from the NCAA as well. Navigating these changes can be hectic for schools, coaches, student-athletes and their families but we will do our best to break it all down and let you know what it all means. In the end, it’s our job to make life easier for each of these interested parties and help them navigate this ever-changing and chaotic world. 

New Virginia NIL Legislation-April 18, 2024 

On April 18th, 2024 Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin signed into law the first legislation in the United States colleges and student-athletes a private right of action against the NCAA, or any athletic conference, for interfering with a student-athlete’s NIL rights. This new law allows the recovery of attorney’s fees, injunctive relief and monetary damages. It goes into effect July 1, 2024 and will provide Virginia colleges to provide student-athletes NIL compensation which is prohibited by NCAA bylaws. The NCAA has stated previously that it expects its institutions to follow their own administrative rules despite conflicting state laws. There are several other states which have similar legislation pending such as Oklahoma, Nebraska and Louisiana. 

New NCAA NIL Rule- April 22, 2024 

While its reported the NCAA declined whether the association would allow all schools to sign NIL deals with their athletes due to the Virginia ruling, there were significant NIL administrative rule changes made this week. On April 22, 2024, the NCAA ratified NIL rule changes where effective immediately schools can identify NIL opportunities and facilitate deals between student-athletes and third parties. Student-athletes may decline the school’s assistance and still maintain authority over their terms in the NIL agreement. This is substantial change in stance from the NCAA where previously if a school was involved with a student-athlete NIL deal it could be deemed a possible violation. 

NIL Future Moving Forward 

In conclusion, while the Virginia ruling is an important first step in student-athletes working directly with the school to secure a NIL deal; the NCAA still has not changed its stance that schools still cannot directly provide student-athletes NIL compensation. What has changed and can be beneficial is if a student-athlete needs help securing a NIL deal or seeks information regarding third parties who may be interested, NCAA schools can now be more active in providing help and facilitation for these deals for student-athletes with these third parties. This is a great first step where student-athletes now don’t have to feel like they are on their own in securing a NIL deal instead their NCAA school can now permissibly provide the needed help to securing that coveted NIL deal.  

Dr Erkut Sogut & Ayaz Hafeez

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