NCAA develops last-minute, ‘interim’ NIL policy

With just hours to spare before name, image and likeness legislation became official in a large number of states across the Southeast, the NCAA adopted an interim policy on Wednesday afternoon. The NCAA’s interim policy would be in effect until Congress signed uniform legislation.

“This is an important day for college athletes since they all are now able to take advantage of name, image and likeness opportunities,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement. “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. The current environment — both legal and legislative — prevents us from providing a more permanent solution and the level of detail student-athletes deserve.”

While Emmert’s statement is true, the NCAA for years held off on coming up with any uniform legislation — Florida lawmakers have been working since Sept. 2019 to develop legislation, and the Sunshine State was the first to have a July 1, 2021 effective date. And Florida’s push came after California was the first state to sign NIL legislation but with an original effective date of July 1, 2023.

Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas are among the 14 states which had signed NIL legislation effective on Thursday. A few governors also took action with an executive order, including Pennsylvania.

This left many schools to choose an options: Wait on the NCAA, wait on Congress or develop their own programs. Florida State and others around the ACC — and more than 1,100 around the nation at all three Divisions — have been proactive in developing their own education materials and a program to help athletes brand themselves. In FSU’s case, the athletics department is using Apex and partnered with INFLCR. FSU also is using professors in Marketing and the Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship to develop classes to prepare athletes for what was to come.

The NCAA interim policy changes very little for athletes in Florida. It does offer an opportunity for athletes in states that do not have a law to earn money off their name, image and likeness. 

Boosters can engage in NIL agreements with athletes, the NCAA said as part of a detailed listing of Frequently Asked Questions

Three key points of the NCAA’s policy: Colleges are responsible for determining whether activities are consistent with state law, athletes can use a “professional services provider” and NIL activities must be reported by an athlete to the school. As defined by the NCAA, the professional services provider could be an agent, tax advisor, marketing consultant, attorney or brand management company.

The NCAA also stated NIL opportunities can’t be a “recruiting inducement or as a substitute for pay-for-play.”