The NCAA Board of Directors for Division I (DI) college and universities unanimously adopted new guidance for institutions related to name, image, and likeness (NIL) activities. This clarification follows a previous announcement on the interim policy that was published in June 2021.
In the guidance, the board encourages schools to educate student-athletes on finances, taxes, entrepreneurship, and social media practices. Institutions also can offer NIL education to collectives, prospects, and boosters. When permitted by state law, the board notes that schools should require students to report any NIL activities to the athletics department.
Institutional Involvement in NIL Opportunities
Under the new policy, schools can inform students about potential NIL opportunities and collaborate with a professional service provider to find a market that best suits the athlete. They cannot, however, enter into agreements or make deals on behalf of an athlete. Institution employees are prohibited from directly donating money, working for the service provider, or owning a stake in these entities. Current regulations allow schools to promote students’ NIL activities as long as the student or NIL entity pays the advertising fees. Students are not permitted to promote their NIL activities during required school athletic events.
The board also states that schools have the authority to provide suites and tickets to NIL entities through sponsorships while ensuring that the same agreements apply to all other sponsors. However, assets cannot be used as incentives to fund the NIL entity.
The NCAA also clarified that schools may not provide equipment, graphic design work, or contract services unless these services are available to all students at the school. This includes cameras, computers, and other electronic devices.
Institutional Interaction With Collectives
The way in which schools can be involved with collective-related NIL appearances differs from traditional NIL deals. DI schools are permitted to interact with booster-supported collectives in limited ways.
First and foremost, school employees are not permitted to work for or own collectives.
For donation purposes, institutions may promote fundraising for NIL entities by providing signed memorabilia or arranging student-athlete appearances. However, they are not permitted to make direct donations or cash payments to these organizations. Institutions may direct donor funds to collectives when fundraising, but they may not specify which student-athlete or sport these funds should be directed to.
Finally, colleges and universities are permitted to provide tickets to NIL entities or collectives via sponsorships, as long as these tickets are provided under the same terms as other sponsorships. This clarification is intended to discourage favoritism.
The new policy is effective immediately and will remain in effect unless Congress passes permanent legislation or the NCAA issues final rules. Additional policies may be adopted by conferences and schools during the interim period.
NACUBO will continue to report on NCAA requirements and any Congressional developments addressing how institutions must comply with rules related to student-athletes and NIL activities.