Post-secondary institutions have historically prevented athletes from earning money or goods due to their athletic ability. However, NIL laws allow intercollegiate athletes to earn money for the use of their name, image, and likeness, which could have a huge impact on college sports and the athletes who make them popular.
Athletes in Florida and eleven other states are now able to gain compensation and monetization of their likeness. If you are wondering how this might affect you, get in touch with one of our sports attorneys and discuss the important facts about NIL in Boca Raton.
Amateurism has been a large part of the collegiate sports since the NCAA’s inception. Players could not be paid to play and student athletes only received scholarships. However, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled in NCAA vs. Austin that the league could not limit education-related payments to student athletes. The NCAA subsequently deferred to state laws on NIL, or to the schools themselves if their state had not passed NIL laws. However, it remains true that, per the NCAA rules, there can be no pay-for-play and no quid pro quo. Athletes are not supposed to receive compensation tied to performance and recruits are not supposed to sign deals contingent on going to school.
NIL is important in college sports because the NCAA still intends to maintain the amateur sports status, which means paying athletes for their play on the field is not possible. NIL law is the work-around for athletes to get paid, without technically considering them to be professional athletes who make a living in their sport. From a licensing standpoint, the annual NIL value per student athlete could range from $1,000 to $10,000, or for a professional athlete between $50,000 to $400,000 for the same group usage licenses.
To begin with, the NCAA has always stressed that college athletes cannot be paid. While athletes are still not allowed to receive NIL deals, certain schools still utilize under-the-table deals and loopholes to this rule that will essentially cause them to take money into consideration when choosing the right school. It remains unclear how the NIL rule will affect the scope of college athletics but it will certainly change the way recruiting works for years to come. Depending on the skill and popularity of the athlete, an NIL deal could potentially be worth millions of dollars over the course of four years.
When it passed the Fair Pay to Play Act, California was the first state in the country to create a legal right for student athletes to be compensated. On June 12, 2020, the Florida government passed a law granting NIL rights to college athletes with an effective date of July 1, 2021. The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled against the NCAA, days before that Florida law took effect, saying the NCAA could not limit education-related payments to student athletes.
An athlete’s name or likeness can be used in sponsored posts or advertisements, autograph sales, YouTube channels, Twitter videos, private training lessons, and merchandise endorsement deals, among others. If someone in Boca Raton finds that their NIL was used without their permission, they can hire a sports law attorney who could file a lawsuit on their behalf. A lawyer could also help in drafting and revising licensing agreements, identifying other NIL opportunities, negotiating agreements, and ensure that they remain compliant with school- and state-specific policies.
Generally, college and high school athletes can use sports agents to market their name, image, and likeness, but they are not permitted to hire agents to represent them professionally without endangering their eligibility.
NIL is a great way for the student athletes to be compensated for their excellence in their sport, which has been long overdue. Student athletes could not be happier that they are now able to benefit from their public image without the necessary safeguards put up. The concern is that college sports will dive too deep into the influence that these changes can have on student athletes.
With NIL in place, student athletes are set up to benefit for years to come and are just beginning to scratch the surface of what they can do with the sport that they love. There are many important things to know about NIL law, so place a call to our Boca Raton lawyers and learn more about this emerging opportunity.