The NCAA adopted a new policy that permits college athletes to make money from their name, image, and likeness (NIL). This sea change in the NCAA is the capstone of several events over many years. The change slowly began with a series of legal battles ranging from athlete’s likeness being used in video games and a variety of commercial uses. Most recently a series of antitrust suits resulted in a landmark Supreme Court ruling against the NCAA in June as well as various states adopting legislation to permit college athletes to profit from their NIL.
Now, the NCAA has adopted an interim policy and promises rules with further guidance to be forthcoming soon. As of July 1, college athletes, recruits, their families, and member schools may earn revenue related to the athlete’s NIL based on the NCAA’s interim policy. Even for college athletes that play in states that have not yet adopted state rules, the NCAA permits those athletes to profit without violating any NCAA rules related to name, image, or likeness.
In addition, college athletes can use professional services, such as lawyers, agents, and advisors for NIL activities. With the growing desire and ability for student athletes to share in the revenue that universities have been earning for many years, college athletes will seek advice from a variety of professional advisors in order to navigate this changing and growing opportunity.
There will likely be forthcoming federal legislation, increasing state laws, and university rules to also help provide a framework for NIL activities. The NCAA made it just in time to coincide with a dozen-plus states that passed laws, some of which become effective on July 1. This fundamental change in the NCAA stands to have an impact on the industry that can only be compared to the changing landscape since Title IX.
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