The hot topic of NIL in college sports continues to carry on, but there seems to be more of a divide now than before.
On Friday, a group of conference commissioners, including Pac-12’s Larry Scott, asked the NCAA Division I Council to consider changing their current plan on NIL and NCAA athletes. Instead, they have proposed a “new and minimalist approach” to regulating how college athletes can get paid using their name, image and likeness, according to a letter obtained by ESPN.
Along with Scott, SEC’s Greg Sankey and ACC’s Jim Phillips are concerned that the current guidelines in place will lead to “inevitable confusion, uncertainty and likely litigation against the NCAA and its member conferences and institutions."
An original plan had been in the works for the last two years, with notable college sports leaders like Big 10 commissioner Bob Bowlsby and Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith selected to build the framework. That proposal would allow college athletes to secure endorsement deals with certain restrictions in place, such as prohibiting colleges from collaborating with students’ endorsements and requiring athletes to communicate their deals with their school.
Now, the new proposal is to have schools follow along with their state’s NIL laws to alleviate some of the confusion. The current concern is that without clear guidelines to what college athletes can and can’t do in terms of endorsement deals, it will lead to antitrust lawsuits filed against them.
Part of the problem is that the NCAA and its councils had hoped for Congress to pass NIL laws by July, but that does not appear as though that will be the case. This would have helped create guidelines across the board for all states, rather than having differing restrictions depending on the state the school is in.
Oregon is in the process of passing a law allowing college athletes in its state to profit off of their NIL. It has been passed by the state Senate and is seeking approval from the state’s House. Other states have already passed and approved of NIL laws and those are set to go into place July 1.
In addition, Oregon State has already created a program that partners its athletes and their College of Business called “expOSUre,” which will help educate student athletes on how to maximize their opportunities when it comes to NIL.