Part 1: Navigating the Future College Athletics World of Name, Image and Likeness

by | May 13, 2020


On Friday, May 8th, we conducted a national webinar with Women Leaders in College Sports on Name, Image and Likeness.  This 45 minute webinar is an easy-to-follow explanation of how we got here, what is being proposed, and what issues remain.

Link to Webinar HERE! 

Key Takeaway: Educate Yourself

  1. NIL is Coming!
  2. What is permissible and when is it permissible?
  3. Have your “A-Team” in place (compliance, development, coaches/SA, legal background, multi-media rights rep, Title IX, SID)

NIL Background

  • Current Rule:
    • All three divisions currently have rules limiting student-athletes from using their name, image and likeness in most circumstances, with some very narrow exceptions
    • Why? Amateurism.
  • State Legislation
    • 34 total states (as of May 8, 2020) with bills that would prevent the NCAA from enforcing rules to prohibit SA’s from using platforms to make an income
    • Bills vary but boil down to:
      • Prohibiting enforcement of rules that currently disallow sponsorship or endorsement deals
      • Allowing SA’s to hire agents and other advisors
      • Roadmap requirements for SA’s to work with their institutions to – avoid endorsement deals that conflict with their institution’s deals
    • Federal Legislation
      • Both the House and Senate have been vocal about opening up some of the rules, but have not yet proposed any legislation
      • NCAA has expressed desire to seek antitrust exemption and federal preemption of state NIL legislation.

Student-Athlete NIL Rights

  • Third-Party Endorsements: SA’s will be able to accept money to promote products, businesses and brands, athletically related or not
    • School CANNOT
      • Arrange the deals; pay for SA’s to promote things; allow SA to wear jersey or use school logo in advertisement
    • As of today, the working group has taken the position that it may be permissible for boosters to pay for SA’s NIL rightsIns, but cannot be contingent upon the SA enrolling at a specific school or performing at a certain level athletically.
    • Examples:
      • Permissible: A football SA gets paid to tweet about how much he loves Powerbars before lifting weights because it gives him a lot of energy.
      • Impermissible: A UT football SA appears in a car dealership commercial wearing his jersey and flashing the Hook Em Horns ™ hand sign
  • Work Product or Business Activities: SA will be allowed to get paid for personal appearances, sell autographs, profit from their own camps or clinics or promote their own non-sports related business
    • Schools must stay out of these deals and boosters could get involved to the same extend as they could with endorsements
    • Examples
      • Permissible: A food science major and women’s soccer SA could come up with her own line of small batch ice cream and use her NIL to promote the brand
      • Impermissible: That same SA couldn’t co-brand the ice cream with Clemson and call it Tiger Tracks or sell it in the school snack bar.

Remaining Issues

  • Institutional Conflicts
    • Chevy vs. Toyota; more questions than answers at this point
  • Agents, boosters, etc.
    • Agents were taboo back in the day
      • SA’s might need more than an agent now (ex: tax advisor)
    • Robust process for disclosure
      • Necessary vetting process, deals come, how do you vet them?
      • Paid going rate?
      • Monitor booster activity


Part 2: Campus NIL Preparation

  1. Preparing for Jan 2021 Vote and August 2021 Effective Date
  2. Assessing Current Campus Environment
  3. Developing a Tailored Education Strategy
  4. Forming Your Campus “A Team”

Most clients turn to CCHA Collegiate Sports Consulting for representation during NCAA inquiries, compliance education, head coach control plans, contract negotiation, and institutional control assessments. Please contact our team for any questions.  We are happy to help!

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