Starting today, all NCAA athletes will now be eligible to make money from the use of their names, images, and likenesses NIL), also known as their publicity rights. However, it will be a temporary change in policy until there is federal legislation or new NCAA rules come into effect. Furthermore, the modification does not overrule state institutions that already have NIL policies in place.
“With the variety of state laws adopted across the country, we will continue to work with Congress to develop a solution that will provide clarity on a national level,” said NCAA president Mark Emmert in a statement. “The current environment — both legal and legislative — prevents us from providing a more permanent solution, and the level of detail student-athletes deserve.”
This watershed moment is considered the biggest change in college sports since Title IX and, by allowing NCAA student-athletes opportunities to receive compensation, challenges the precept of what constitutes amateurism.
It should be noted that they are still not permitted to receive any kind of payment directly from colleges or for their play. Instead, student-athletes can look to revenue streams such as social media monetization, advertisement and endorsement deals, teaching classes, and other kinds of like avenues. They can also hire agents to help them secure these deals.
Some states’ NIL policies dictate what kinds of industries are prohibited, though. For example, Texas student-athletes are currently allowed to work with legal firearms manufacturers and dealers. However, anything related to sex, alcohol, e-cigarettes, tobacco products, performance enhancers, or sports betting is prohibited.
The move can be seen as a reaction to a number of top-flight high school athletes forgoing college to play sports internationally. Others may be strongly considering non-traditional organizations like Quavo’s Fan Controlled Football or the Jeff Bezos-backed Overtime Elite, which pledges to pay its players a minimum of $100K annually as well as sharing in “revenue from use of their name, image and likeness, including through sales of custom jerseys, trading cards, video games, and NFTs.”