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NCAA Looks to Improve NIL Environment

Rules • August 2, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA (August 2, 2023) – The NCAA Division I Board of Directors directed the Division I Council to develop proposals to improve the environment for student-athletes engaging in name, image and likeness activities in college sports.

The board’s direction comes at the request of the Division I Council Working Group on Name, Image and Likeness following two days of in-person stakeholder meetings — including two dozen administrators and 10 Division I student-athletes with firsthand experience in NIL activity — at the end of July. During those meetings, the working group solicited feedback on several topics, including transparency measures, the recruiting environment surrounding NIL and the role NCAA schools should play in student-athletes’ NIL activities.

“The working group and the NCAA fully support student-athletes profiting from their NIL, and the message was clear from the stakeholders that the Association should develop reasonable protections that increase transparency without limiting student-athletes’ NIL opportunities,” said Lynda Tealer, chair of the Division I Council and the working group, and executive associate athletics director at Florida. “I believe the working group has laid out clear direction, thanks to input from many with firsthand experience with NIL activity, including student-athletes, to do exactly that: increase transparency, put in place protections and support college athletes as they pursue these opportunities.”

“It was amazing to have so many student-athletes present for our NIL Working Group meeting in Indianapolis, and not just there to ‘check the box,'” said group member Isaac Vance, a former football student-athlete at Kent State. “Our experiences and ideas we spoke about were heard and acted on by all who sat in the room. Protecting the student-athletes, while also not limiting possible NIL opportunities, will be beneficial for not only us but all parties involved, in terms of parity and clarity throughout the entire space.”

Among the proposals the working group will present to the council in October are rules that would:

  • Develop a registration process for NIL service providers (such as agents and financial advisors) and NIL entities (those who contract with student-athletes for the use of their NIL).  
  • Create a standardized contract or standard contract terms that could include certain information to be required, including terms like fee structures and the specific activities for which athletes would be compensated.
  • Establish disclosure requirements for student-athletes and/or NIL entities that could serve as a resource for student-athletes and would be intended to provide transparency about NIL activities.

“We heard loud and clear that student-athletes are not always certain about what to look for in NIL contracts, and we hope to establish clear rules that help student-athletes navigate these deals to better — and more safely — capitalize on their NIL potential,” Tealer said.

The board also charged the working group with developing recommendations for how Division I members can address concerns in recruiting and clarify the role schools could have relative to student-athlete NIL. The working group was asked to bring possible recommendations before the council and the board in October.

“The board believes the Association must use the tools at our disposal to improve outcomes for student-athletes when it comes to NIL activity, but there are some things we believe only Congress can address,” said Jere Morehead, chair of the Division I Board of Directors and president at the University of Georgia. “We have seen good progress on Capitol Hill recently, and while that process advances, we are moving ahead to do what we can to increase transparency and establish standards so student-athletes can pursue these NIL opportunities.

“After two years of providing guidance to NCAA members while monitoring the NIL landscape, Division I members are better equipped to take more permanent steps — in the form of NIL-specific rules — to provide clarity for NCAA schools and student-athletes in this space,” Morehead said.


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