Now that student-athletes can earn money from their name, image, and likeness (NIL), the athletes must be aware of other intellectual property issues that may impact the athlete’s branding. NCAA college athletes should consider their commercial uses of university logos, trademarks, or other copyrighted materials. Some universities, including Florida State, restrict players from using the school’s IP unless the student-athlete has permission from the school.
Likewise, universities are developing policies and guidance in a variety of areas, including tax obligations, use of university facilities, and university IP. FSU NIL guidance states, “Use of FSU trademarks and logos (including all aspects of the uniform) for NIL activities can only occur after obtaining a written agreement from either Seminole Sports Properties, CLC, or the FSU Office of Trademark Licensing (authority dependent upon intended use).” Similarly, universities are encouraging student athletes to obtain permission for use of campus facilities in advance of any filming or promotion of the athlete’s NIL and to consider paying rental fees for commercial uses of campus facilities.
With the recent passage of state laws and new NCAA Policy changes, student-athletes have transitioned from amateurs to small business brand owners, seemingly overnight.
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