With California Governor Newsom signing legislation, which would allow student-athletes to earn compensation based upon their name, image, and likeness (“NIL”), and many states following California’s lead, this is big news for college sports. Because it would be very difficult to regulate college sports with each state passing its own set of NIL rules, it was interesting to see former student-athlete, and NFL professional, Congressman Gonzalez, discuss the need for federal legislation to establish a national standard on NIL, but with potential guardrails.
In this vein, our athletics directors have expressed concerns about an unregulated NIL market. First, some of our smaller schools are concerned about the possibility of creating even further divide between the existing haves and have-nots in college sports. For example, larger schools with more support and exposure would generate better NIL deals for their student-athletes. Second, our schools are concerned about potential recruiting abuses, where NIL deals would be given to student-athletes, not based upon market value, but rather, recruiting promises.
For now, as we eagerly wait the NCAA’s NIL Working Group final report due later this month, the group has a tough job ahead, but hopefully they can propose a solution that both benefits student-athletes, while, at the same time, preserves the collegiate model.