Who Could Benefit Most from Name, Image, Likeness at Oklahoma State
STILLWATER -- The headlines came out today and whenever headlines appear the initial reaction is something is about to happen. The roar from individual state legislatures has been that the NCAA better take the restraints off earning rights for student-athletes and let them profit from their notoriety as any other student could that finds a way to bathe in the limelight. At Oklahoma State right now, or at least as soon as students come back to campus and sports resumes, there are easily four student-athletes that could make some money endorsing products and/or making promotional appearances.
In football, Chuba Hubbard returns as the nation's leading rusher. He was a finalist for the Doak Walker Award and a unanimous All-American. Tylan Wallace is easily one of the top receivers returning in the nation and was a consensus All-American and a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award following his sophomore season.
In basketball, you have returning point guard Isaac Likekele, who is a highly known player on the Division I stage, that is recognized as a top level player. one of Likekele's new teammates is one of the top two recruits in the country in 6-7 guard Cade Cunningham. Both of those young men would be easily recognized and sought out by businesses looking for an Oklahoma State athlete as a spokesperson.
All four of those athletes are well spoken and have positive personalities. They would make great assets for any company. The problem is none of them, well, maybe one exception will ever be able to take advantage of the changes.
The Name, Image, and Likeness committee presented their updates to the Board of Governors, but now the following timeline is expected to take place.
- April 28-29, 2020 Updates to divisional presidential committees and the Federal and State Legislation Working Group reports to Board of Governors during NCAA governance meetings.
- Spring/summer 2020 Continued discussion and feedback in each division.
- Sept. 1, 2020 Each division should have initial legislative proposals.
- Nov. 1, 2020 Each division should have final legislation drafted to update NIL rules.
- Jan. 31, 2021 Legislation should be approved, with effective dates no later than the of 2021-22 academic year.
This means that the start of athletes benefiting from the new policies won't go into effect until the 2021-22 school year. It's hard to rush the individual way a school will approach it until the policy is closer to being adopted.
"I think at this point, at Oklahoma State, that there is not enough known on the national level what it is going to look like," Oklahoma State assistant athletic director for compliance Ben Dyson said earlier this spring. "We could spend hours and hours trying to come up with what our policy will be and how we are going to handle it, but until we know for sure what the NCAA is going to allow then we are pretty much spinning our wheels. We've had some preliminary conversations for sure. Once we have the details on what the committee is going to allow then we can come up with a plan that is lest speculative and more in line with what we will deal with."
Dyson, who works under senior associate athletic director and director of compliance Kevin Fite, actually offices over in the West End Zone with football. He told us earlier that when the name, image, and likeness topic went progressively forward that is likely a good sign that college sports is moving forward from the COVID-19 pandemic.
"That is an issue that is going to be pushed more forward as we get closer to the norm again," Dyson said earlier. "I don't envy that committee at all because that is a tough issue with a lot of intricacies. You have to come up with a formula that is fair to the student-athletes but also doesn't become a huge advantage to schools in the recruiting process."
The schedule is a year off from benefiting Hubbard, Wallace, Likekele, and Cunningham. That may be unfortunate because those four are well spoken, understand the rules, and would be perfect beginners for Oklahoma State to establish how all of this will work now and in the future.
It is safe to say that Hubbard and Wallace will be in the NFL Draft next season, while Cunningham is projected to be the top pick in next year's NBA Draft and Likekele is a likely participant as well.
"Really, you hope that education you provide is an asset for those student-athletes and to their family members of what is and isn't permissible. They need to know that there are going to be a lot of people coming at you with their hands out. Some people might have your best interest at heart, and unfortunately, some of those people might not."
Dyson remembers the day Hubbard announced he was coming back and the quick flash of Hubbard posing with a vehicle at a dealership seemingly promoting the dealer and vehicle. It was taken down almost as soon as it went up.
"We were aware of that situation almost instantly," Dyson confirmed.
Dyson has dealt with high profile players before that needed extra education and supervision. Brandon Weeden, Justin Blackmon, Mason Rudolph, and James Washington. Now, Hubbard and Wallace are in that position.
"It's important for us to have that relationship with the student-athlete, so that they know we are a resource for them and we have their best interest at heart. They know they can ask us, 'tell me what I can do and what I can't do' so that we can provide them some guidance. That is where it is important that you have built up that relationship so they know they can just come in and talk. That is great that my office is right by all the position meeting rooms because they have to pass by it several times a week. I encourage them to pop in and just say 'hi.' It is good for me to travel with the football team so they see me in more than just a compliance role."
In the future, compliance will likely be the sign off authority for athletes set to profit for their name, image, and likeness.