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The NCAA and Its Long Standing Fight with Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL)

On July 1st, the United States Supreme Court ruled 9-0 in favor of NCAA student athletes, eliminating limits on educational benefits that universities can offer to student athletes. Furthermore, this decision has fully opened the door for student athletes to earn income off their name, image, and likeness (NIL). This has long been disputed in the NCAA, with the universities and players going back and forth for years. Continue reading to learn more...

A Tale As Old As Time

We all remember famous NCAA scandals, like Reggie Bush’s Heisman trophy being stripped, to James Wisemen leaving Memphis a year early, and all the speculations around Zion Williamson accepting money from Nike. Athletes have long been at odds with the NCAA due to these ridiculous policies. In some cases, the universities in Division 1 earn upwards of $100 million in total revenue per year. While the argument on the players behalf has rarely been about the schools paying the players themselves, players have long advocated for the ability to earn income off their name, image, and likeness.

After states such as California, Florida, and Georgia introduced legislation in 2019 allowing players to make an income off their NIL, the NCAA has finally agreed to make it legal across the organization nationwide. Although, the NCAA will not put parameters in place to limit or regulate NIL in fear of being susceptible to antitrust lawsuits. With their long fear of antitrust lawsuits and the precious de facto monopoly they hold over the college athletics industry, the NCAA has rightfully argued for time that the organization is an amateur business and none of its players are employees who earn a salary but this is starting to change. The new regulations in place have prompted the NCAA to begin lobbying congress to pass a national law outlining the boundaries surrounding NIL in order to protect themselves from antitrust lawsuits.

A Play In Favour of the Players

Now, the players have all the power when it comes to NIL. They are eligible to have agents, who are signed to advise them on financial and legal matters. Previously, it was a violation of NCAA rules to have an agent, usually punishable by suspension. They are now also able to negotiate on their own behalf with corporations and advertisers regarding branding deals, sponsorship, and business venture opportunities.

Many in the industry have speculated on the impact this could have on future recruiting of high school athletes. One can assume that going to a larger scale university in size and popularity

would bring more lucrative opportunities off the field/court. Simply put, the star quarterback at Ohio State is going to have better/more opportunities to earn income compared to the star quarterback at Rutgers. Given this reality, will this shift the balance of power to the more historically powered schools?

The University of Texas Austin, Texas A&M, Ohio State, University of Michigan, and University of Georgia were the top five schools in total revenue for the 2018-2019 season. These schools dominate in all aspects from athletics to corporate sponsorships - which is why we ask do schools align themselves with their established sponsors for marketing opportunities? Or does each player have to seek out their own deals? Will this new rule increase parody competition within the NCAA? Or will this be the end of the NCAA we currently know? The answers to these questions will have major implications on the future of NCAA sports. What do you think?

News Update: Alabama Coach Nick Saban claims star QB Bryce Young has already made near “seven figures” in NIL endorsement deals. The young QB has already landed a deal with CashApp. Young has only thrown 22 career passes and is approaching his first year as a full-time starter.

Check out the sources for this story here ⬇️

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