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DII Management Council backs name, image, likeness proposals for 2021 Convention

Council advances recommendation related to nonqualifiers’ access to athletics aid, practice

The Division II Management Council recommended the Division II Presidents Council sponsor several legislative proposals for the 2021 NCAA Convention, most of which permit student-athletes to benefit from their name, image and likeness.

The Management Council this week supported a plethora of name, image and likeness opportunity concepts that the Division II Legislation Committee put forward in late June. The Presidents Council will make the final decision on which legislative proposals advance to the 2021 NCAA Convention, where they will be decided via Division II’s one-institution, one-vote legislative process. Any of these legislative proposals passed at the Convention would take effect Aug. 1, 2021.

“We can’t overstate that this is a significant time in Division II and with the NCAA, even beyond the current challenges presented by COVID-19. This package of recommendations includes some very prominent and profound legislation to modernize Division II’s rules and policies,” said Chris Graham, commissioner of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and chair of the Management Council. “These concepts follow the NCAA Board of Governors’ guiding principles, including ensuring student-athletes are treated similarly to nonathlete students, unless a compelling reason exists to differentiate.”

The name, image and likeness recommendations fall into two categories: activities related to student-athlete businesses and the promotion/endorsement of third-party products and services. They are detailed below:

  • Student-athlete work product: Permit student-athletes to use their name, image and likeness to promote their own athletically related work product (for example, athletics apparel, athletics equipment, writing a book about the impact of athletics on their life).
  • Endorsement of third-party product or service: Permit student-athletes to promote athletically or nonathletically related products or services, including, but not limited to, modeling noninstitutional athletics apparel and equipment, and establishing a monetized media platform, subject to institutional policies.
  • Autographs: Permit student-athletes to be paid for autographs while not representing their school, either in conjunction with an endorsement opportunity or otherwise independent of their school.
  • Appearances: Permit student-athletes to be paid for appearances at commercial businesses and charitable, educational or nonprofit agencies, subject to institutional policies, and permit student-athletes to include their athletics status and ability in any such promotions.
  • Sale of merchandise/memorabilia: Permit student-athletes to sell athletics apparel, used equipment and awards provided by the institution at any time in their career.
  • Crowdfunding for extreme circumstances: Permit student-athletes, their families and friends to organize fundraisers for student-athletes or their family members in extreme circumstances beyond the control of the student-athlete (for example, house fire, medical needs), while maintaining current restrictions on fundraising for education-related items of need (for example, tuition, laptop).
  • Fees for private lessons: Permit student-athletes to promote their availability for private lessons. If school facilities are used, student-athletes must follow all applicable institutional processes for renting facility space in a manner consistent with that used by the general public.
  • Fees for camps and clinics: Permit student-athletes to operate their own camps and clinics. If school facilities are used, student-athletes must follow all applicable institutional processes for renting facility space in a manner consistent with that used by the general public.
  • Allowing commercial business to promote student-athlete attendance at institutional fundraisers: Permit a commercial business to advertise the presence of student-athletes at the establishment for an institutional fundraiser.
  • Licensing of student-athlete’s name, image and likeness, unrelated to work product: Permit student-athletes to license their name, image and likeness for commercial products unrelated to their work product (for example, student-athletes would be allowed to license their nickname on commercial products sold by a third party).

Further, consistent with the Board of Governors’ principles that any legislative changes be transparent and enforceable, the Management Council voted to recommend the following administrative framework for the concepts above:

  • Permit institutions to assist student-athletes on name, image and likeness activities but not arrange such opportunities. Some permissible examples would include providing education on applicable NCAA rules, helping a student-athlete evaluate any compliance concerns with a particular opportunity, assisting with reporting expectations and offering resource materials to help the student-athlete evaluate and select professional service providers. An institution would be permitted, but not required, to establish a name, image and likeness counseling panel similar to the currently permissible professional sports counseling panel. Business activities that are developed as a result of a student-athlete’s coursework would be exempt from the restrictions on institutional involvement.
  • Require student-athletes to obtain approval to use institutional marks for any commercial purposes through the normal process used by any potential license.
  • Prohibit student-athletes from using their name, image or likeness to promote products or services not permitted by NCAA legislation, including sports wagering and banned substances.
  • Prohibit student-athletes from missing class to participate in activities related to use of their name, image and likeness.
  • Permit schools to determine how to appropriately educate their student-athletes, boosters and other constituent groups on name, image and likeness rules.
  • Require reporting of name, image and likeness activities on an annual basis. The Legislation Committee recommended that a template form be created at the national level but added that schools would be permitted to establish their own forms based on institutional needs and applicable state laws. Schools may choose to require reporting on a more frequent basis. The committee also expressed support for exploration of a potential third-party administrator to oversee reporting to reduce the burden on Division II athletics departments.
  • Permit prospective student-athletes to retain professional service providers (for example, agents, tax advisors, marketing consultants) for name, image and likeness activities, as well as professional athletics opportunities, before initial full-time enrollment at a Division II institution. Any agreement related to professional sports opportunities must be terminated upon enrollment at a Division II institution. Institutional employees would not be permitted to serve in a professional service role for a prospective student-athlete.
  • Permit student-athletes to retain professional service providers needed for name, image and likeness activities. Student-athletes, however, would be prohibited from hiring an agent for the purpose of a professional athletics opportunity. These service providers would be prohibited from providing anything that would constitute an extra benefit.

Institutional athletics aid and practice for nonqualifiers

The Management Council also voted to recommend the Presidents Council sponsor a legislative proposal for the 2021 NCAA Convention to allow access to institutional athletics aid and access to practice to all incoming freshman student-athletes and two-year college transfers, regardless of their initial-eligibility status.

This recommendation is an expansion of a proposal the Management Council and Presidents Council approved in April, which did not include access to practice. Feedback from the national Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and Coaches Connection groups factored into this addition to the proposal. Part of those groups’ rationale centered on the importance of student-athletes staying connected to their teams and how that can factor into mental health.

The proposal, which came from the Division II Academic Requirements Committee, would amend current Division II eligibility legislation in a permissive fashion.

Currently, incoming freshman student-athletes and two-year college transfers who are nonqualifiers are not permitted to receive athletics aid during their first academic year in residence, unless an initial-eligibility waiver is approved. During the last six certification cycles, however, 97% of all such waivers were granted for at least athletics aid. Additionally, 65% of waivers for nonqualifiers allowing access to practice were granted. Given the high percentage of approvals, this legislative proposal would permit schools to provide institutional athletics aid and practice without a waiver. Providing such aid and/or access to practice would be left to institutional discretion. Any athletics aid provided to a nonqualifier would still count toward team equivalency limits.

If approved by the Presidents Council, two proposals would move forward for a membership vote at the 2021 NCAA Convention. The first proposal would provide nonqualifiers access to athletics aid and practice. The second proposal would provide access to athletics aid only. The membership would vote on the athletics-aid-only proposal only if the first proposal is defeated.

Two-for-one penalty established

The Management Council recommended the Presidents Council approve a modification to the nullification policy in all sports to assess a “two-for-one” penalty in situations where an ineligible student-athlete participated. If approved by the Presidents Council, the change would be effective immediately.

Currently, there is a “one-for-one” penalty structure that penalizes teams one game for each game in which an ineligible student-athlete participates. The Division II Championships Committee put together the recommended “two-for-one” increase as a further deterrent to ensure fair and equitable access to championships.

Management Council/SAAC Summit

Before the Management Council’s meeting Monday and Tuesday, the council met by videoconference July 17 for its annual summit with the national Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. The summit provides an opportunity each year for the two groups to discuss key issues in Division II, ensuring the student-athlete voice is well represented in the governance process.

This year’s meeting included a review of the name, image and likeness concepts and the proposed legislation for the 2021 NCAA Convention; a presentation from NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline on mental health in the COVID-19 pandemic; a roundtable discussion about life on campus this fall centered on COVID-19 challenges and racial injustice; and a professional development session on using emotional intelligence to involve, inspire and influence others.