NCAA Adopts Interim Policy Allowing Student Athletes to Monetize NIL

Client Alert

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has adopted an Interim Policy that, starting July 1, allows student athletes across the country to receive compensation from licensing their name, image and likeness rights (NIL) to promote or endorse commercial products and services while remaining eligible to participate in NCAA athletics.

According to the NCAA, the Interim Policy requires:

  • Schools in states with enacted NIL laws: NIL activities must be compliant with state law, including NIL law. NIL deals must be disclosed to the school in compliance with state law and school rules. Schools and conferences may adopt their own additional NIL policies. Student athletes may engage professional service providers for NIL activities. 
  • Schools in states without enacted NIL laws: NIL activities must be compliant with state law. NIL deals must be disclosed to the school in compliance with state law and school rules. Schools and conferences may adopt their own additional NIL policies. Student athletes may engage professional service providers for NIL activities.

NIL deals that involve pay-to-play compensation or act as inducement to attend a particular school are prohibited.

The Interim Policy will remain in place until federal NIL law is enacted or new NCAA rules are adopted.

Why it matters

There are 460,000 NCAA student athletes who have now joined the pool of endorsement talent, able to exploit their publicity rights to earn compensation independent of scholarships.

  • Brands can micro-segment the market by gender, sport, rural vs. urban, region, lifestyle and other factors for digital and conventional sponsorships and endorsements, using talent that was previously off-limits. 
  • Student athletes can earn compensation and build lasting digital businesses from activities ancillary to school and athletic commitments.
  • Schools and conferences must develop and enforce NIL rules that are compliant with state law and protect against pay-to-play and recruitment violations.
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