The NCAA is expected to provide further clarification around its NIL policy next week, according to The Atlantic. This new guidance, which is expected to address the role of institutions with respect to NIL, is likely to be announced following a meeting of the NCAA Division I Board of Directors on October 25-26.
It is not unexpected that we have arrived at this point. From the outset, the extent to which institutions can and should be involved in facilitating NIL deals for their student-athletes has always maintained residence in the murky grayness of NIL legislation. The earliest versions of the NCAA’s NIL proposals allowed schools to provide education around NIL opportunities, but expressly prohibited institutional involvement in procuring deals for athletes. However, the interim NIL policy that was ultimately adopted and remains in place currently, failed to clearly articulate the role that institutions could play. As a result, the thin, pencil line that once separated education and facilitation is virtually indistinguishable at present.
The lack of well-defined boundaries has given rise to institutions (or their representatives) directly or indirectly orchestrating deals for student-athletes, or contracting with NIL marketplaces for the purpose of doing the same. Even some state NIL laws, which once prohibited institutional involvement, have since been revised to allow for more permissive engagement.
Given that a number of NIL marketplaces maintain contractual agreements with athletic departments, the pending NCAA guidance could have significant repercussions for the common business model that has emerged within the NIL landscape over the past year. As a result, the NCAA’s membership, as well as the NIL industry, will be watching with great anticipation to see what new guidelines are announced, and the extent to which they will be enforced.