The NCAA doesn’t require disclosures – why do student-athletes have to worry about tracking them

spry nil myth no need to disclose

While the NCAA might not require student-athletes to submit a disclosure (yet), your school might!

  • Disclosures do not exist to bog you down in paperwork or to get you into trouble. They are like an insurance policy! Consider them a trail of transparency. Should a contract or deal go sour, you are waaaay more protected if you disclose it. 
  • Disclosing to your school can also prevent you from accidentally breaking a rule and becoming ineligible. 

Is it worth the risk? 

Why do Student Athletes think they do not need disclosures?

  • At present, the NCAA has no legislation that explicitly requires student-athletes to disclose their NIL opportunities, although they do note that students should follow all institutional and state regulations regarding NIL disclosures
  • However, the NCAA has stated that it does not intend to enforce “non-compliance or rule-breaking” of institutional or state requirements.
  • Institutions and state agencies have not been aggressive about enforcing these rules so there are little to no repercussions for athletes who don’t disclose.  So why bother?

This is myth because:

  • State laws as well as institutional policies still mandate that all NIL transactions be disclosed with the student-athlete’s institution.  Even if disclosures aren’t being rigidly enforced right now, student-athletes will spare themselves potential problems down the road if they comply with the laws and policies that are mandated by their school and state.
  • Disclosing NIL transactions can actually benefit student-athletes.  While many students see disclosures as a burden, having a detailed record of opportunities as part of a comprehensive business portfolio can enhance the student’s marketability by demonstrating their value and appeal.
  • Having a record of the details of an NIL deal provides a level of transparency that can protect a student-athlete against potential NCAA violations.  Particularly in cases where a student-athlete enters into an NIL opportunity with an institutional booster, it will be important to document that the deal is a legitimate business arrangement and not merely a pay for play arrangement.

Before a student-athlete jumps to finally capitalize financially on his or her hard work accumulated over the years, it is important to consider that there is still a framework in which to work so that NCAA policies or state law are not violated. The student athlete (or representative of such student athlete) would be wise to first contact the compliance department of his or her respective school. 

Lyle Adams


Lyle was a member of the 2007 NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship team at Wake Forest. After embarking on a professional soccer career, Lyle transitioned to the tech industry, where he was one of the first 100 employees at Uber, designing platforms and tools for data consumers. Lyle also holds a Master’s in Sports Management from Columbia University.