NCAA Allows Student-Athletes to Monetize Their Name: Here’s What it Means

NCAA Allows Student-Athletes to Monetize Their Name: Here’s What it Means

By Michael Simon

NEW YORK, NY._ For many years, there has been a division between the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the student-athletes that the organization regulates.  The NCAA is a non-profit whose mission is to “regulate intercollegiate athletics in a manner that enhances the role of US higher education as a critical national enterprise in a competitive global environment,” according to the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics.

The division between the athletes and the organization stemmed from the usage of the athlete’s individual name for monetary value.  Throughout the entirety of the NCAA’s history, no student-athlete was allowed to make money off of their name while in college.  Famous collegiate athletes like former USC football star Reggie Bush have been suspended, stripped of accolades (like Bush’s Heisman in 2010), and have faced a numerous amount of consequences for the usage of their name.

The two parties have now bridged the gap that disconnected a lot of the student-athletes from the NCAA.  On Thursday, the NCAA passed the NIL, which allows student’s from all three divisions of athletics to monetize their name, image and likeness.  Following the passing of this new policy, many former and current athletes expressed their positive reactions on social media.

This new interim policy comes with a lot of individual rules that sport fans and college athletes should be aware of.  J. Michael Keyes, a partner at the international law firm Dorsey & Whitney, is a well-known property attorney who has been following this issue closely.  Keyes emphasized the importance of being completely aware of what the policy entails.

Keyes explained that “athletes can now license their name to promote sports brands (like Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, and Gatorade).  Athletes could launch their own merchandising companies and sell any number of products, consumables, and a wide assortment of trinkets.”  However, Keyes found that there are components of the policy that need to be publicly addressed.

Student-athletes under this policy should be aware of four aspects of the NIL, Keyes explained.  First, Keyes stated that the athletes should be conscious of the state’s laws in which they represent.  “Given that different states have different laws related to NIL exploitation, this could lead to a patchwork of different rules applying in different states to different athletes,” Keyes says.

Second, the deals put forward can’t be paid based on performance.  For example, a collegiate basketball player shall not be paid a certain amount of money based on how many points they score in a game.

Also, Keyes emphasized that the logos that the athletes represent may not be able to wear the logos that they represent.  The individual college may already represent an individual company.  For example, UNC is sponsored by Jordan, and an individual athlete may not be allowed to represent their Under Armour contract as a result of the college they attend.

Finally, there can be reporting requirements in terms of the activities engaged in by the NIL.

In terms of the policy, J. Michael Keyes stated, “”It is important to stress that this is a “stop-gap” measure until federal legislation or further NCAA regulations are enacted.  This is just the opening move in what is certain to be a long and involved process for the NCAA, student athletes, and the institutions for whom they play. It may not be the wild, wild west, but it is going to be pretty wild!”

It is safe to say this policy is a step in the right direction in a high-paying industry.  Student athletes can enjoy the game they love, while living a luxurious lifestyle that they deserve for the performances they put on.

Michael Simon

Journalism Intern


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