Ask any college administrator to describe the state of NIL and there’s a good chance you’ll hear these words: “Wild, wild west.” It’s a multifaceted industry that’s rapidly evolving so fast it’ll make your head spin. And because Tiger Impact is committed to helping Clemson be the best while ensuring integrity and adhering to NCAA rules and state law, it’s imperative for us to stay on top of those rules and laws and the overall landscape of NIL in college athletics. So, each month we’ll use this section of our newsletter to share brief insights about NIL and relevant updates from across the industry that affect our community.
Let’s start with what “NIL” is and the timeline of how we got where we are today.
When people reference “NIL,” they’re discussing the commercial use of one’s name, image and likeness. In practical terms, think of your name on the back of a jersey, your image featured in an advertisement or your likeness used in a video game. Other examples of NIL monetization include selling autographs, endorsements, licensed merchandise and more.
Historically, NCAA rules did not allow student-athletes to profit off their NIL. But that changed on July 1, 2021. Here are some of the major milestones that led to the NCAA making that change:
- September 2019: The State of California passed the first-ever NIL bill allowing collegiate athletes to profit off their NIL (California Senate Bill 206), set to go into effect in 2023
- October 2019: The NCAA Board of Governors voted unanimously to permit NIL and requested divisions propose rule changes by January 2020
- June 2020: The State of Florida passed its NIL bill to go into effect July 1, 2021
- June 2021: Several other states passed NIL bills for July 1, 2021 and the NCAA lost an important Supreme Court decision on a case (Alston) involving restrictions on athlete compensation
- July 1, 2021: “NIL” officially became permissible as the NCAA removed restrictions and state laws went into effect
Though the NCAA now allows student-athletes to monetize their NIL, it’s important to note (and the NCAA did with their May 2022 updated NIL guidance) that NIL monetization is meant to be distinct from “pay for play,” or being compensated to play for a team (i.e. professional sports). But we’ll save that topic for a future installment of “NIL 101.”
Got questions about NIL? Let us know what interests you: firstname.lastname@example.org