How College Athletes Can Make Money According to the New NCAA NIL Policy


In recent years, proposals to pay college athletes have gained popularity. A survey by Morning Consult in 2021 found that 62% of adults believe that athletes should be allowed to benefit from the use of their identities in licensed products such as jerseys or video games, and 61% support student athletes making money through Deserve endorsements.

On Wednesday, the NCAA announced a transition policy that will allow student athletes from all three divisions to monetize their name, image, and likeness, often referred to as the NIL. The new policy will take effect on Thursday, July 1st.

Laws in states like Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas that allow NCAA athletes to monetize their NIL will go into effect this year. However, in the absence of federal law, the new NCAA guideline allows students to participate in NIL activities as long as they comply with “the law of the state where the school is located,” and allows students in states without NIL laws to do so Participate without breaking the NCAA rules.

“This is an important day for college athletes as they now have every opportunity to share their name, image and likeness,” said Mark Emmert, president of the NCAA, in a statement. “Given the variety of laws passed nationwide, we will continue to work with Congress to develop a solution that will provide clarity at the national level. The current environment – both legal and legislative – prevents us from offering a more permanent solution and the level of detail that student athletes deserve. “

The NCAA’s announcement stated that athletes must continue to obey their state NIL laws and that “colleges and universities have a responsibility to determine whether these activities are compatible with state laws”.

Athletes can now accept recommendations from brands, monetize their social media presences, and partner with professional firms to coordinate these types of offers for athletes. Some athletes like Hanna and Haley Cavinder, twin sisters who play for the Fresno state basketball team and have a large social media following, have already accepted sponsorship deals.

Larry Mann, executive vice president of sports marketing agency rEvolution Marketing, says the NIL policy shift was “inevitable” in light of recent state laws and expects a wide variety of athletes to experience significant, but not dramatic, benefits.

“I really don’t see high-profile men’s football, the men’s college basketball players getting rich with it … For example, a successful football player who goes to the NFL will get 20 times his signing bonus than he possibly is from sponsoring a car dealership or whatever, “he says.” But that could be a huge benefit for some of the Olympic athletes, and possibly athletes who don’t get a lot of attention. “

He says the transition could make a difference for female athletes who don’t have as many professional athletic opportunities after college.

Through sponsorship or social media support, some athletes could “make $ 10, $ 20, $ 30, or $ 40 to supplement their scholarships – maybe,” he says. “It’s not equality and it’s not right, but it’s something.”

The news follows a June 21 Supreme Court ruling that the NCAA’s restrictions on “educational benefits” such as tutoring or scholarships for college athletes violate antitrust laws.

The unanimous decision means the NCAA cannot prohibit relatively modest payments to student athletes and raises questions about the legality of not paying athletes to participate in the sport.

“Tradition alone cannot justify the NCAA’s decision to build a massive fundraising company on the backs of student athletes who are inadequately rewarded,” wrote Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh in the unanimous statement. “Nowhere else in America can companies get away with not paying their workers a fair market price because their product is defined by not paying their workers a fair market price. And by the usual principles of antitrust law, this is not obvious. ”Why college sports should be different. The NCAA is not above the law. “

He also noted that “the current NCAA transfer agreement for the March Madness basketball tournament is valued at $ 1.1 billion annually” and that Emmert “makes nearly $ 4 million a year.”

In response to the ruling, the NCAA issued the following statement: “While today’s ruling upholds the lower court ruling, it also reaffirms the NCAA’s authority to make appropriate rules and repeatedly states that the NCAA is free to articulate, what is truly educational and what is not benefits, in line with the NCAA’s mission to support student athletes. “

Amy Privette Perko, a former college athlete and current CEO of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, an independent think tank focused on the education, health, safety, and success of athletes, points out that the Supreme Court ruling is fairly narrow is. She says some of the educational benefits students can get now include health insurance and disability insurance, but she doesn’t explain whether an athlete can get a laptop worth $ 2,000 versus $ 10,000, for example.

“The immediate impact will now be that conferences will have more authority and responsibility to define the boundaries of educational utility within their conference,” she says.

“In a broader sense, the Supreme Court ruling and the separate urge to change NIL rules will significantly transform college sports by increasing the economic rights and benefits of college athletes,” says Perko. “With the NIL changes in 2021, 2021 was already the defining year in college sports this century. And with the Supreme Court ruling, it only helps transfer power and economic rights to the athletes. “

Mann says he is still skeptical that the change will lead to a “financial windfall” for student athletes.

“It’s going to be a work in progress. There are a lot of people who are very excited to see these athletes who have been exploited are now starting to get something,” he says. “But there is still such a big delta between the amount of money these schools make and what the student athletes will make.”

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