On Wednesday, the NCAA proposed its much awaited NIL plan, allowing college athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness. In the proposed plan, student athletes would be allowed to identify themselves by name and school but the use of school logos or trademarks would not be allowed.
“At its meeting this week, the Board of Governors supported rule changes to allow student-athletes to receive compensation for third-party endorsements both related to and separate from athletics,” the NCAA released in a statement. “It also supports compensation for other student-athlete opportunities, such as social media, businesses they have started and personal appearances.”
The deadline to draft legislation will be Oct. 2020 and be voted upon no later than Jan. 2021. If passed in January of next year, the legislation will take effect at the start of the 2021-22 academic year.
“The NCAA’s work to modernize name, image and likeness continues, and we plan to make these important changes on the original timeline, no later than January 2021,” said Gene Smith, Ohio State senior Vice President.
While Wednesday was another step in the right direction, there are still plenty of hurdles to overcome in the impending months. As of now, there are two states, California and Colorado that have passed NIL legislation.
Florida’s House of Representatives gave approval on Mar. 13 right before the coronavirus pandemic and now wait for governor Ron DeSantis to sign, which he has expressed support in doing. While California could see its bill go into effect in 2023, if Florida is on board, the timeline is sped up dramatically.
The big difference: Florida’s would take effect July 1, 2021, about 18 months before California and Colorado’s. The legislation sped up the NCAA’s NIL timeline and, some believe, will do the same for a potential federal law.
In an in depth article from Sports Illustrated national writer Ross Dellenger, he talks with senator Cory Booker, who thinks there is enough “energy” around the bill to pass a federal law within the next year.
The next 10-12 months are the target of when to expect a federal NIL law passed because of the expedited timeline from Florida. Congress and the NCAA would like to supersede the individual state legislation to have more clear cut guidelines for all states to follow.
Included in its proposal on Wednesday, the NCAA asked congress for help in protection from state NIL laws. Those requests are as followed:
- Ensuring federal preemption over state name, image and likeness laws.
- Establishing a “safe harbor” for the Association to provide protection against lawsuits filed for name, image and likeness rules.
- Safeguarding the nonemployment status of student-athletes.
- Maintaining the distinction between college athletes and professional athletes.
- Upholding the NCAA’s values, including diversity, inclusion and gender equity.
What will be interesting in the immediate future is whether congress will adopt the NCAA’s proposed plan or add proposals of its own. If the NCAA’s plan is strong enough, members like North Carolina senator Mark Walker would step aside. Others like Connecticut senator Chris Murphy believe congress should be involved either way.
Murphy is one of the most outspoken proponents of athlete compensation on Capitol Hill, often firing off tweets and in-depth reports on the matter. He’s a co-founder of a bi-partisian working group to examine college sports issues, and he met with Emmert in December.
“My belief is NIL is totally insufficient,” says Murphy, a noted avid UConn Huskies fan. “Giving students access to make money off their NIL is totally insufficient to solve this problem. I’m of the mind that we should be looking at a broader set of legal protections to allow schools to compensate athletes.” Either way, Murphy is hesitant to allow the NCAA full authority to write nationwide NIL rules. “I think the states or federal government should most likely write the rules,” he says.
Multiple lawmakers told Dellenger and SI that the simplest and quickest route to passing a federal law would be to adopt the NCAA’s proposed plan today and at the very least, provide a roadmap for congress’ own plan.
From an LSU perspective, the timing of this new legislation couldn’t come at a better time. The Tigers are fresh off a national championship win and are a national brand at the moment.
You’d have to think that players like Derek Stingley Jr., Ja’Marr Chase, JaCoby Stevens, Terrace Marshall and Myles Brennan would be able capitalize if the laws were passed for this season.
However, that’s not the case for the majority of those players as Stingley is really the only one that would benefit most from NIL legislation being passed for the 2021 season.
So those are just a few of the problems for the next few months to be sorted out. It’s clear that we’re well underway to seeing some type of legislation, or at least a proposal at a federal level within the next year.
We’re already living in unprecedented times but Wednesday’s proposal from the NCAA was a big step into seeing college athletics change forever.