Is Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) a good thing for College Sports Athletes?

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  1. Consider the pros and cons of NIL rules and identify some of the NCAA’s ongoing issues in dealing with college athletes making money from their name, image, and likeness. 

Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) rules have had a deep impact on the NCAA and college sports after one year. The economics of college sports changed forever on July 1, 2021, when half a million college athletes became eligible to make money from their name, image, and likeness (NIL) overnight [1].

While sources agree NIL is a positive, there are two worlds of name, image, and likeness. There is what was on display at the Hall of Fame in Atlanta: a celebration of the new era the way it was envisioned to operate. Then, there is the rapidly expanding space that fueled, most notably, the recent spat between Jimbo Fisher and Nick Saban: booster-funded collectives that traffic in the recruiting inducement and pay-for-play space [1].

The current NIL environment is bad for college athletics [2]. Players deserve more compensation than  what they were getting pre-NIL [2].

References:

[1] NIL’s deep impact on NCAA, college sports after one year – Sports …. https://www.si.com/college/2022/07/12/nil-name-image-likeness-collectives-one-year Accessed 4/29/2023.

[2] NIL Hurts College Athletics. Here’s How We Fix It. https://www.ourdailybears.com/2022/5/23/23055991/nil-hurts-college-athletics-heres-how-we-fix-it Accessed 4/29/2023.

[3] What to know about NIL for NCAA and paying college athletes – The …. https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2021/06/15/nil-ncaa-paying-college-athletes/ Accessed 4/29/2023.

[4] What is NIL? NCAA Rule Explained – NCSASports.org. https://www.ncsasports.org/name-image-likeness Accessed 4/29/2023.

  • It is hard to deny that the new NIL rule has changed recruiting games. What are the positives and negatives of this new era of funding college athletes? Please be sure to include how it impacts recruiting, in addition to college athletics and college athletes. 

Athletic programs that are the first to embrace the change in NIL policy may gain a competitive recruiting advantage [1]. However, NIL can create imbalances between players, some of whom have a better chance to receive deals than others.

NIL also creates imbalances between different sports, where those in more revenue-generating sports may have more opportunities. Male athletes overall have more opportunities and more significant earning potential than women [2].

NIL provisions outsource compensation to third parties and put the responsibility of earning on the athletes themselves.

This not only keeps benefits unregulated and uneven, putting the athlete at risk for further exploitation, but also makes them work even more [3].

Reference:

[1] Pros and Cons of NIL | 2aDays. https://www.2adays.com/blog/pros-ad-cons-of-nil/ Accessed 4/29/2023.

[2] College athletes are benefiting from new NIL rules, but the fight is …. https://www.sbnation.com/2021/7/1/22559422/college-athletes-name-image-likeness-nil-rules Accessed 4/29/2023.

[3] NCAA to review NIL impact on athletes, violations – ESPN. https://www.espn.com/college-sports/story/_/id/33323409/ncaa-review-nil-policies-including-impact-student-athletes-potential-recruiting-violations Accessed 4/29/2023.

  • In your opinion, do you believe the recent NIL rules are good for college athletics? Why or why not? Please be point to current NCAA NIL legislation in your response as well as provide support for your opinion through outside sources.

The board noted that schools can and should provide education to current student-athletes, including on topics like financial literacy, taxes, social media practices and entrepreneurship. Schools also can provide NIL education to collectives, boosters, and prospects [1].

Opinions on whether the new NIL rule is good for college athletics vary. Some argue that it is a positive development because it allows college athletes to earn money from their name, image, and likeness [1]. However, others argue that it can create imbalances between players and between different sports [2].

Reference:

 [1] DI board approves clarifications for interim NIL policy – NCAA.org. https://www.ncaa.org/news/2022/10/26/media-center-di-board-approves-clarifications-for-interim-nil-policy.aspx Accessed 4/29/2023.

[2] The New Race by States to Remove NIL Restrictions on College Athletes. https://abovethelaw.com/2022/04/the-new-race-by-states-to-remove-nil-restrictions-on-college-athletes/ Accessed 4/29/2023.

  • NIL rules are recent NCAA legislation. With an understanding of all the issues at play, what do you believe needs to be considered in the future to help address some of the concerns regarding NIL rules & recruiting?

In terms of future considerations for addressing concerns regarding NIL rules and recruiting, a congressional hearing on March 29, 2023, identified several issues for future consideration [1]. These include questions such as:

1) Should college athletics follow a different compensation model than professional sports?

2) Who should be allowed to negotiate and coordinate NIL deals on behalf of athletes?

3) How can lawmakers and schools ensure recruiting rules promote fairness, encourage athletic competition, and protect students?

4) What entity should be responsible for enforcing NIL laws?

5) How is the lack of a national standard impacting competition and recruiting between universities in states with different or no NIL laws?

6) How would small universities and conferences be impacted by new requirements for athlete education, compliance, and enforcement?

7) How would a revenue-sharing model impact on the ability of a university to fund non-revenue-generating sports?

Reference:

[1] Addressing NIL recruiting issues at the collegiate level. https://www.bakertilly.com/insights/addressing-nil-recruiting-issues Accessed 4/29/2023.

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