NCAA paves way for NIL legislation by July 2021

Compensation related to a student-athlete’s name, image and likeness could become effective in July 2021, the NCAA’s Board of Governors stated on Wednesday.

The board makes the distinction that the compensation is from third parties and could also include opportunities such as social media or businesses and personal appearances.

Athletes will not be allowed to use school or conference logos as part of endorsements but can identify themselves by name, sport and school.

“Throughout our efforts to enhance support for college athletes, the NCAA has relied upon considerable feedback from and the engagement of our members, including numerous student-athletes, from all three divisions,” said Michael V. Drake, chair of the board and president of Ohio State said in a statement released by the NCAA. “Allowing promotions and third-party endorsements is uncharted territory.”

The NCAA’s three divisions are discussing the outline of the rules and are expected to adopt the name, image and likeness rules by January with an effective date of July 1, 2021. That would fall in line with the timing of Florida’s proposed NIL legislation, which is expected to be signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

While legislation has been debated in dozens of states, it is expected that federal legislation in Washington will take precedent. NIL legislation has been a hot topic in the U.S. Senate and House but it’s not clear what the timetable is for debate, vote and when it could be effective.

The NCAA further clarified that there will be no involvement allowed by schools, boosters or conferences.

“As we evolve, the Association will continue to identify the guardrails to further support student-athletes within the context of college sports and higher education,” said Val Ackerman, commissioner of the Big East and working group co-chair. “In addition, we are mindful of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on higher education, college sports and students at large.  We hope that modernized name, image and likeness rules will further assist college athletes during these unprecedented times and beyond.”


  1. David Shafer

    The question always have been how to enforce the mandate that boosters/alumni aren’t involved in these contracts. I see that as a hugely problematic area for football and basketball. As for Olympic sports, this will be a boom. Michael Phelps was making over a million a year by the time he hit college age and declined to swim in college. There are around 100 men and women swimmers of college age here in the USA, that get support from US swimming. The top swimmers get paid huge amounts from corporations (swim suit companies give the largest endorsements). Katie Lodecky left college 21 months ago and got a $7M contract for 6 years. That is one, she has many other smaller endorsements. International swimmers get paid by there home countries at varying rates too. Track athletes also have endorsement opportunities they are giving up. Beach Volleyball is another one. Women’s soccer has potential for some college athletes making money from FINA.

    Another question in my mind for football/basketball is if the national corporations are really going to want to support say an athlete at Alabama, when that might have the opposite intended effect for Auburn/Georgia/Florida etc. fans. And since they don’t have a national organization like the Olympic sports they might find only smaller regional organizations are interested and then you have the question of booster/alumni involvement.

    Just some thoughts off the top of my head.

  2. Jerry Kutz

    I agree with you on all points. I see all sorts of regulation questions. As with everything, the devil will be in the details as for those who seek to cheat.

    On a positive note, think about how much Deyna Castellanos could have made with over 200k Twitter followers internationally.

    Former FSU basketball player Michael Polite and I were talking about this and some of our international student-athletes, like his son, who are hugely popular in their home country and could bank their popularity in those countries.

    There are more than a few foreign and Olympic sport athletes who can capitalize on this so this is not just about the star quarterback or runningback.

    We’ll stay on top of it.

  3. Dave Cowens

    Keep this in mind when debating fairness. Colleges, conferences, and the NCAA have been using the images and likenesses of its athletes to partner with for profit companies without asking for their permission nor sharing any of the revenue with them. I have been signing basketball cards produced by Panini and Upper Deck for decades and have never been compensated at all.
    When did they obtain that right?
    Should I be able to negotiate a settlement with them now for lost wages?

  4. Patricia Crawford

    Will this be opening Pandora’s box in the locker room with only super stars benefitting and allowing the more prosperous schools to get bigger and richer. An endorsement at big money schools will certainly have more dollar value to recruits
    . The NCAA can’t get out of it’s own way, now and will never be able guarantee any sort of compliance.. Put a limit on the preposterous money that head coaches make and have all student athletes get a stipend or none. Some super stars are already sitting out of bowl games. It will get worse. In these uncertain times, the NCAA should be concentrating on keeping the boats afloat and stop the cheating some say is going on, instead of making it legal.

  5. David Shafer

    Dave, interesting point. But, the question has always been how much value is in the athlete and how much in the name of the school. In your case, had you gone to Boston and been cut year one, there probably wouldn’t be much clamoring for your college basketball card. But, instead you had an elite career at one of the most recognizable sports franchises in the world that drives your card’s value. Few college athletes are so blessed with that kind of professional career. So, its value would be driven by a universities boosters and alumni. My son had some nice Winston t-shirts, but no Mariotta t-shirts. Few college athletes transcend that type of alumni bias.

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