The NCAA Finally Issues NIL Guidance: Better Late Than Never

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

            The NCAA released further rules navigating the unclear path that NIL has paved for student athletes. On October 26, 2022, the new rules released continue to prohibit pay for play or performance, which is an essential tenet to the NCAA’s continued definition of amateurism. This guidance emphasized the educational purpose of institutions and the separation of institutions in their supporting roles from businesses in NIL roles and the continued prohibition on pay to play. [1]

            This key concept was initially the reason for backlash in the Name Image and Likeness launch for athletes. How do we keep the separation between athletes and students? How were we going to ensure that students are focusing on their education, as opposed to treating college like a 9-5 job to cash paychecks instead of turning in papers on time? 

To help piggyback this ideology, the latest guidance offered a non-exhaustive list of “do’s and don’ts” for institutions engaging in NIL. [2] The main theme of this non-exhaustive list was to continue to promote amateurism and education. Further, this list of “do’s and don’t’s” falls into two separate categories: 1) distribution of information and education by institutions, and 2) institutions acting as supporters, not as agents. [3]

 This is extremely important to highlight in this newfound universe of athletes making money through their name, image, and likeness. It is crucial that we continue to use the word students while discussing this prevalent issue. These athletes go to college to receive and education.   Their goal is to graduate with a degree, and if they can profit from their ability to play sports and their popularity that is great, but only if institutions emphasize the importance of achieving the end goal, which is receiving an education.  

The recent guidance emphasizes distribution of information by permitting institutions to hold educational sessions for any person within the NIL sphere which include: SAs, NIL entities, boosters and PSAs. For the student athletes, these sessions may include topics such as financial literacy, taxes, entrepreneurship and social media. This is also extremely relevant and crucial.  The goal of this is to have the athletes properly manage their money and use it to further themselves in the long-run, not just short term. [4] 

Other do’s and don’ts within the guidance establish institutions as supporters not agents.   The goal of this is to prevent the institutions from acting on behalf of the student athletes, rather than supporting them. [5] While late in coming, these guidelines should help institutions avoid compliance violations while also assisting the student athletes in maintaining their eligibility. 


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