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NCAA Rules, University Involvement in NIL, and Future Legal Changes

NIL regulations are top of mind for universities and student-athletes across the country. As we all adapt to the latest rules, questions linger about what the future of NIL looks like...



The introduction of Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) rules in college sports rules has been around for just over two years now, allowing athletes to capitalize on their personal brands and monetize their talents. With many student-athletes now having some of the biggest opportunities in their careers in their hands, universities are exploring ways to adapt and participate in the NIL process.


But don't get too excited just yet. The NCAA has set some guidelines to ensure a fair playing field and prevent any imbalance in recruitment or undue influence on student-athletes. Athletes have to comply with state laws, share their NIL activities with their institutions, and not use the university's trademarks in their personal endorsements.


On the other hand, universities are doing their best to support their student-athletes by creating education and compliance programs. They're helping their athletes understand the specifics of NIL, such as legal requirements, tax implications, and brand management. Some universities like the University of South Carolina, Oregon State, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have even partnered up with companies that specialize in NIL management to offer resources, marketing expertise, and assistance in securing endorsement deals. By doing so, these universities aim to provide the tools needed for their athletes to succeed and navigate the rapidly evolving NIL landscape. The presence of NIL collectives, while independent of universities, create even more incentive for college athletes to attend certain schools as they can help develop NIL deal opportunities and provide additional funds for certain promotional activities.


The near future may see further legal changes that impact how athletes, universities, and the NCAA navigate NIL. State legislatures are actively passing NIL laws, so it's up to athletes and universities to navigate varying compliance requirements. Plus, discussions are ongoing at the federal level to create a uniform NIL framework that would supersede state laws. You can read more about that here. This could streamline the process by offering consistent guidelines or it could potentially cause upheaval among college athletes and their universities as their NIL engagement may become more difficult.


While it's great to see colleges and universities actively involved in supporting athletes in their efforts to earn money through personal branding, colleges will just have to wait and see where future regulations land and what challenges may result. The road ahead might be bumpy, so it's important for everyone to stay informed and adapt to whatever may come next for NIL.


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