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DI Council introduces name, image and likeness concepts into legislative cycle

Proposed changes set for January vote

Division I moved a step closer to changing its name, image and likeness rules when the Division I Council this week introduced concepts providing more opportunities for student-athletes into the 2020-21 legislative cycle. The Council met by videoconference Tuesday and Wednesday. 

“This is an important milestone in the progress toward modernizing Division I rules to better support student-athletes in all of their endeavors,” said Council chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletics director at Pennsylvania. “We know additional refinements may be needed as we make sure modifications are fair, recognize the importance of the current recruiting structure and that every student-athlete has the same opportunity to benefit.”

The concepts reflect the work of the Division I Legislative Solutions Group, chaired by Calhoun and Big 12 Conference Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. The group continued the work of an Association-wide committee chaired by Gene Smith, Ohio State athletics director, and Val Ackerman, commissioner of the Big East Conference.

If adopted, the measures would:

  • Allow student-athletes to use their name, image and likeness to promote camps and clinics, private lessons, their own products and services, and commercial products or services.
  • Allow student-athletes to be paid for their autographs and personal appearances.
  • Allow student-athletes to crowdfund for nonprofits or charitable organizations, catastrophic events and family hardships, as well as for educational expenses not covered by cost of attendance.
  • Allow student-athletes the opportunity to use professional advice and marketing assistance regarding name, image and likeness activities, as well as professional representation in contract negotiations related to name, image and likeness activities, with some restrictions.
  • Prohibit schools from being involved in the development, operation or promotion of a student-athlete’s business activity, unless the activity is developed as part of a student’s coursework or academic program.
  • Prohibit schools from arranging or securing endorsement opportunities for student-athletes.

Student-athletes would not be permitted to use their school’s marks in any advertisements, endorsements, personal appearances or promotions. Additionally, they could not participate in activities involving a commercial product or service that conflicts with NCAA legislation (such as sports wagering or banned substances), and schools would have the opportunity to prohibit activities that conflict with school values or existing sponsorship arrangements. The school would be required to disclose activities that would be prohibited at the time a student is admitted or signs a financial aid agreement.

Both prospective and current student-athletes would be required to disclose name, image and likeness activities, including compensation arrangements and details of relationships developed through the process. The group continues to support use of a third-party administrator to assist with overseeing the disclosure process; monitoring and reporting name, image and likeness activities; and educating key stakeholders, including student-athletes, prospective student-athletes, boosters and professional service providers. 

The Division I Council requested the Legislative Solutions Group package the concepts as several independent proposals for a Council vote in January 2021.