NCAA adopts interim policy allowing athletes to benefit from name, image and likeness

With immediate effect NCAA college athletes will finally have the opportunity to benefit from their name, image and likeness (NIL). Governance bodies in all three of the association’s divisions have adopted a uniform interim policy suspending NCAA name, image and likeness rules for all incoming and current student-athletes in all sports.

The new policy comes complete with a set of guidelines for college athletes, recruits, their families and member schools.

Individuals can engage in NIL activities that are consistent with the law of the state where the school is located. Colleges and universities may be a resource for state law questions.

College athletes who attend a school in a state without an NIL law can engage in this type of activity without violating NCAA rules related to name, image and likeness. Individuals may also use a professional services provider for NIL activities.

Student-athletes are required to report NIL activities consistent with state law or school and conference requirements to their school.

NCAA President Mark Emmert said: “This is an important day for college athletes since they all are now able to take advantage of name, image and likeness opportunities. With the variety of state laws adopted across the country, we will continue to work with Congress to develop a solution that will provide clarity on a national level. 

“The current environment — both legal and legislative — prevents us from providing a more permanent solution and the level of detail student-athletes deserve.”

“Today, NCAA members voted to allow college athletes to benefit from name, image and likeness opportunities, no matter where their school is located,” said Division I Board of Directors Chair Denise Trauth, President at Texas State. 

She added: “With this interim solution in place, we will continue to work with Congress to adopt federal legislation to support student-athletes.”

While opening NIL opportunities to student-athletes, the policy in all three divisions preserves the commitment to avoid pay-for-play and improper inducements tied to choosing to attend a particular school. Those rules remain in effect.

“The new policy preserves the fact that college sports are not pay-for-play,” said Division II Presidents Council Chair Sandra Jordan, Chancellor at the University of South Carolina Aiken. “It also reinforces key principles of fairness and integrity across the NCAA and maintains rules prohibiting improper recruiting inducements. It’s important that any new rules maintain these principles.”

Division III Presidents Council Chair Fayneese Miller, President at Hamline, said the Association will continue to work with Congress to develop a national law that will help colleges and universities, student-athletes and their families better navigate the NIL landscape.

“The new interim policy provides college athletes and their families some sense of clarity around name, image and likeness, but we are committed to doing more,” Miller said. “We need to continue working with Congress for a more permanent solution.”

The temporary policy will remain in place until federal legislation or new NCAA rules are adopted. With the NIL interim policy, schools and conferences may choose to adopt their own additional policies.