Terms & Definitions

In-Kind Payment

What is an in-kind payment?

An in-kind payment, sometimes called a payment-in-kind (PIK), is when the use of a good or service is given as payment instead of cash.

Are NCAA students allowed to accept in-kind payments?

Student-athletes are allowed to receive payments that result from legitimate employment arrangements or legitimate NIL opportunities. In-kind NIL payments that are made in lieu of cash, would be permissible, provided they result from a legitimate business transaction or employment opportunity. As a general rule, a student-athlete should not be compensated in a manner that is inconsistent with non student-athlete employees. If an in-kind payment arrangement has been created specifically for a student athlete, the compliance office should review the circumstances to ensure that the arrangement is permissible under NCAA rules.

Do scholarships count as payments in-kind?

Athletic scholarships are not considered to be an in-kind payment since athletic scholarships are cash payments that are made either directly to the student-athlete or to their student account.

Do stipends to student-athletes count as in-kind payment?

Athletic stipends are not considered to be in-kind payments as they are typically cash payments made either directly to the student-athlete or to their student account.

Do gifts to student-athletes count as in-kind payments? / Can I give a NCAA student-athlete a gift?

In most instances, student-athletes are not allowed to receive gifts from individuals with whom they do not have a natural or long standing personal relationship. However there are some legislated exceptions that allow them to receive gifts from their institution based on participation or special achievements. Such gifts are generally in the form of tangible items as opposed to cash, and are not “payments” but rather, are considered awards.

What is the most important thing to know about in-kind payments in the NIL era?

It is important to know that in-kind payments are an acceptable form of currency for name, image, and likeness (NIL) opportunities, provided the NIL opportunity itself is legitimate and not tied to a recruiting inducement, and the value of the in-kind payment is in line with the student-athlete’s fair market value.

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.