NCAA Issues Directives Aimed at Collectives, PSAs
Monday, May 9, 2022 was another landmark date in the ever-changing NIL landscape as the NCAA issued “Interim Name, Image and Likeness Policy Guidance Regarding Third Party Involvement.” Such guidance specifically targeted two groups: NIL Collectives and Prospective Student Athletes. Further, the mission of such guidance is clear: keep NIL money out of recruiting, be it of high school prospects or current NCAA athletes in or considering the transfer portal.
Specifically, the NCAA’s NIL Guidance broadly defines “Boosters” as individuals, independent agencies, corporate entities, or other organizations known (or that should be known) by an institutional executive or administrator to have participated in or otherwise be affiliated with an agency, organization, or entity promoting the institution’s athletics program or to assist or have assisted in providing benefits to student athletes and their family members. Pursuant to this broad definition, NIL Collectives appear to be “Boosters” pursuant to NCAA’s definitions, and as such, are prohibited from engaging in recruiting activities, “including recruiting conversations,” on behalf of schools.
As a refresher, NIL Collectives are third-party groups organized to collect money to sign athletes, and prospective student athletes, to NIL deals. Collectives – by way of reported six-figure deals to prospective student athletes and guaranteed money for being on a roster or a specific position group – have straddled, and potentially crossed, the lines delineated by the Interim NIL Policy established in July 2021. Given that the NCAA’s NIL Guidance specifically states “NIL agreement[s] between a PSA and a booster/NIL entity may not be guaranteed or promised contingent on initial or continuing enrollment,” the propriety of the above-described NIL deals is unclear, at best, and an egregious violation of NCAA Policy at worst.
While states continue to legislate around NCAA guidance, including by permitting universities to have direct relationships with NIL collectives, it is unclear whether and how that benefits players. These uncertainties not only create confusion for athletes and institutions, but also have potentially massive ramifications on both institutions and student-athlete if and when the NCAA issues penalties related to NIL activities. As always, such penalties could include loss of eligibility and NCAA sanctions.
Due to the seriousness of the potential ramifications, I encourage prospective and current student-athletes to seek guidance from trustworthy, unbiased sources before engaging with NIL Collectives and other boosters – even those affiliated with institutions. I encourage NIL Collectives to do the same and to constantly monitor NCAA Guidance and Federal Legislation that may affect their ability to engage with institutions and prospective student athletes.
For additional information about your NIL rights and the laws and rules governing them, do not hesitate to contact Kennerly, Montgomery & Finley, P.C.