Over the summer, the NCAA changed their rules and regulations regarding student athletes ability to use their name, image and likeness (also termed NIL) to make money while in school.
“Essentially it’s verbiage that the NCAA has used, and it allows you to use your name, your photo and your representation of yourself as a student athlete to profit,” said Matt Arend, athletic director at Albion College. “In the past student athletes could not use that within the realm of athletics.”
Name, image and likeness of a student athlete includes using their name, their face and portrayal of themselves as a student athlete for profit, such as brand deals, sponsorships and promotional activities.
While the NCAA’s decision has reinvigorated interest , multiple states’ legislators were already working on legislation regarding a college athlete’s ability to participate in this type of monetization.
“States, before the NCAA did this, started to pass state legislation at their level that was going to allow student athletes to start doing this,” said Arend.
The state of Michigan had legislation that was intended to come out in late 2022-early 2023. However, since the NCAA has made its changes, many who work and participate in college athletics wonder if state legislation is even necessary.
At Albion College, student athletes are currently available to use their name, image and likeness in this manner. It does not come without regulations, though.
“While this is open to students, there is still a compliance ‘making sure we’re adhering to the rules’ aspect that we still need to follow,” said Arend.
These rules include making “pay to play” type deals, where athletes are rewarded money for certain milestones they make in their sports. Sports betting is also still off for student athletes.
In order to make sure students are complying with NCAA regulations and restrictions, Albion College student athletes, as well as most college athletes, are required to disclose any deals they make with the college athletic administration.
“Basically, the whole structure of the deal, what it entails, the money, all need to be disclosed with the college,” said Arend.
The new rules have already impacted college athletes. According to an article written by ESPN, University of Miami quarterback D’Eriq King was the first college athlete to sign an endorsement deal with the Florida Panthers as of August 9th, 2021.
King is not the only college athlete to do so. A tweet from Fowler Auto on Sept. 17 detailed an NIL deal for University of Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler. The deal entailed a choice of two brand new cars in exchange for endorsement.
While it has been mostly football players to receive sponsorships and endorsements, it is expected that once basketball and baseball season begin NIL deals will be offered to those athletes as well.
With so much changing for college athletes there is speculation that there will be changes to how athletes are recruited as well. According to Arend, student athletes coming out of high school may end up signing deals that turn them away from attending college and going professional.
Most of the NIL deals are expected to occur at the Division I level. It is still unsure if NIL deals will be seen at the Division III level, the level where Albion College athletics fall under.
“I don’t know if that will trickle down to our level, the Division III level, as much, but certainly the Division I level,” said Arend.