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How NCAA's NIL Crackdown Impacts Syracuse

The NCAA is looking to punish NIL collectives that are used as recruiting tools.

The NCAA has taken another step in cracking down on NIL (name, image and likeness) collectives on Monday. What is an NIL collective? A group that collects money to sign athletes to NIL deals. Often as part of a recruiting process. 

The NCAA is looking to prohibit collectives from helping a school recruit. To offer NIL related deals to entice a prospective athlete to join a specific school. This is commonly referred to as pay for play but is currently being done under the guise of NIL deals. In fact, the NCAA is even discussing the potential to retroactively punish schools that benefited from such situations. 

Here are more specifics from Ross Dellenger:

The Division I Board of Directors approved new NIL guidelines Monday, clarifying existing bylaws that prohibit boosters from being involved in recruiting. The group of school presidents rubber-stamped the guidance that college leaders hope will jump-start the NCAA enforcement staff to investigate potential rules violations, both past and future, as reported by Sports Illustrated last week.

Despite the clarity coming 10 months into the NIL era, the guidelines are meant to be retroactive. According to the guidelines, the NCAA enforcement staff is given the freedom to investigate those who egregiously violated bylaws in the past.

The guidance’s primary purpose is eliminating a booster’s involvement in recruiting, members of an NCAA NIL working group said last week. Officials say boosters and booster-led collectives are using NIL-disguised transactions to induce prospects to sign with their school or convince current players to remain on their school’s roster, something SI detailed last Monday.

Any booster or booster-led collective that has been found to have associated with a prospect about recruiting—on another college team or in high school—will be found to have violated NCAA rules, and the booster’s school is at risk of sanctions, Colorado athletic director Rick George told SI last week. George serves on the NCAA NIL working group.

How does this impact Syracuse?

Syracuse does not have one of these collectives that is being targeted by the NCAA. That means any retroactive punishment should not impact any Orange programs. Where it does have an impact is moving forward. 

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Any thought of a collective being formed to help Syracuse has two choices. First, form anyway and attempt to help the Orange recruit, believing that the NCAA's stance will not hold up in court. Second, wait to see how this all plays out and react accordingly. 

The NCAA's lack of guidance when NIL became legal in collegiate athletics has led to this conundrum for schools. Even more so now with the NCAA looking to retroactively punish. Syracuse faces that conundrum now, and perhaps would be wise to see how the dust settles before taking any action. 

While Syracuse does not have one of these collectives, they do have other things in place to assist student-athletes with NIL opportunities that are permitted even under the potential NCAA crackdown. 

There is the Accelerate Exchange, describe as, "student-athlete business registry to connect businesses, donors, alumni, and other interested parties with student-athletes. The ACCELERATE Exchange will provide businesses, donors, alumni, and other interested parties a clear and consistent approach to working with Syracuse student-athletes on NIL opportunities."

Syracuse also signed a deal with Brandr, which "creates new opportunities for the university’s athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness (NIL) using the school’s official trademarks and logos."  

Situations like that, along with guidance and advisement on NIL related opportunities from SU, are likely to be the main NIL related items in place at Syracuse. They have worked thus far, as members of the men's and women's basketball, football and men's and women's lacrosse teams have been among the Syracuse student-athletes to ink NIL deals. 

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