NCAA Updates NIL Guidelines

Wednesday, the NCAA Division I Board of Directors approved new guidelines to members on name, image and likeness activities. The Board of Directors sought to clarify how schools, coaches and staffers can be involved in athletes’ endorsement and sponsorship deals.

There were no new rules created by these clarifications to the NCAA’s interim NIL policy. However, the update will give athletic departments a better idea of the type of support that falls inside the existing rules.

Key Guidelines

There were a few clarifications that stood out in a four-page document released by the NCAA. The first being the fact they clarified schools are not allowed to negotiate deals on behalf of a student athlete to secure an NIL opportunity.

This poses a problem as many schools have already done this under the assumption that the action was acceptable. Some states have laws that prohibit athletic departments from negotiating NIL deals, but some have no laws at all. Additionally, athletic departments had already begun to hire employees that would aid in the production of NIL deals for student athletes. The NCAA stated they plan to investigate these situations even if they occurred before the clarifications were published on Wednesday, according to the document.

Moreover, schools are not permitted to provide free services to student athletes that are not offered to non-athlete students. This includes services like lawyers to contract review, accountants to help with tax preparation and graphic designers to help create content. This goes against recommendations that schools should provide NIL counseling for student athletes. The counseling would be beneficial for student athletes who are unable to afford lawyers or agents.

The new guidelines also made it clear that schools are not permitted to directly finance a collective. Schools are permitted to fundraise for a collective and they can also facilitate meetings between a booster and a collective. However, a collective cannot be used as a recruiting tool.

It is expected that the NCAA will continue to issue clarifications on the NIL, as it is still a developing policy.

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