The NCAA has been late at every turn as NIL began to take shape. With a lot of money being thrown around in college athletics via NIL, the NCAA has issued further official guidance. The Division I Board of Directors has developed guidelines for schools to use when it comes to NIL in recruiting.
The guidance offers an official definition of boosters and explains that newly developed collectives would fall into the same category. The NCAA made it clear that the current rules still prohibit boosters from paying student-athletes to attend certain schools.
“Specifically, the guidance defines as a booster any third-party entity that promotes an athletics program, assists with recruiting or assists with providing benefits to recruits, enrolled student-athletes or their family members,” the NCAA wrote in its official release. “The definition could include ‘collectives’ set up to funnel name, image, and likeness deals to prospective student-athletes or enrolled student-athletes who might be considering transferring. NCAA recruiting rules preclude boosters from recruiting and/or providing benefits to prospective student-athletes.”
This new guidance will take effect immediately. The NCAA noted that this guidance is not intended to question the eligibility of prospective and enrolled student-athletes involved in NIL deals. That policy suspended NCAA rules barring college athletes from earning income via the use of their NIL. The NCAA held on to those rules if it could until states around the country began enacting laws — laws that supersede NCAA rules — to allow college athletes to pursue NIL deals.
In the last ten months, there have been hundreds of deals struck by college athletes, including some involving booster groups that have been as lucrative as six or seven figures. While those are outliers, Monday’s guidance is an attempt to curb the most severe violations of recruiting rules or payment for athletics performance.
So, if the NCAA really wants to pursue cases involving NIL deals, it will certainly cause lawsuits in response. To put it lightly, the NCAA has not performed well in court. The NCAA had decades to get with the times and establish its own NIL rules, but it continued to cling to its amateurism ideal. That all started to crumble once California passed its NIL bill in late 2019, opening the door for other states to follow suit.
At the time, the NCAA said it would consider updates to its NIL rules. None of the proposed changes came to fruition, and the NCAA predictably shifted responsibility to the federal government. When Congress was not able reach a consensus on the best approach for NIL, individual state laws began going into effect on July 1 of last year. The NCAA are now trying to insert themselves into a world that nobody cares for them to be in. After years of taking advantage of student athletes, college no longer needs the NCAA.