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DIII surveys membership on potential name, image and likeness legislative concepts

Constituent groups provide feedback on endorsements, student-athletes promoting their own business activities, and other topics

Division III presidents and chancellors, athletics directors, conference commissioners and national Student-Athlete Advisory Committee members shared their opinions through an online survey on potential legislative concepts surrounding name, image and likeness.

The division’s governance structure administered the survey in June to seek feedback from members, who are tasked with passing legislation that would allow greater flexibility for student-athletes to use their names, images and likenesses to promote their own business activities and endorse third-party products or services.

“Division III members are shaping how best to modernize rules to benefit student-athletes while also staying true to the principles of college sports as a part of higher education,” Dan Dutcher, NCAA vice president of Division III, said. “It is important for the governance structure leadership to continuously engage with the membership, which will make the final decision on how best to move forward at the 2021 Convention.”

In April, the Board of Governors supported rule changes to allow student-athletes to receive compensation for third-party endorsements both related to and separate from athletics. It also supported compensation for other student-athlete opportunities, such as social media, businesses they have started and personal appearances within the guiding principles originally outlined by the board in October. The goal is to have new name, image and likeness legislation adopted at the 2021 NCAA Convention and then implemented before the 2021-22 academic year.

The survey had 384 respondents, with 63% of them being athletics directors. Presidents and chancellors made up 19% of the sample. Forty of the 44 Division III commissioners responded to the survey, as well as 27 of 44 SAAC representatives.

The Division III Oversight Group on name, image and likeness will review the full survey results July 16. Other divisional reviews include SAAC on July 17-19, Management Council on July 19-21, Presidents Advisory Group on Aug. 3 and Presidents Council on Aug. 5.

The survey sought input on two concepts and four additional topics surrounding name, image and likeness issues.

Work product and service: Allow student-athletes to use their status as athletes to promote their own work product or service.

Seventy percent or more of survey respondents agreed student-athletes should be able to use their status as athletes to promote and monetize products and services in the areas of private lessons (89%), camps or clinics (79%), social media platforms (70%), creative endeavors (92%) and their own businesses (88%). Payment for student-athlete autographs received support from 38% of respondents, while approximately 18% said they were undecided.

Endorsements: Allow student-athletes to use their status as athletes to endorse third-party products or services provided there is no institutional involvement in procuring promotional opportunities for student-athletes (except to the extent the institution is involved with assisting students generally); name, image and likeness opportunities are not part of the recruiting process; and market rate is used to ensure compensation is not a substitute for pay for play.

Two-thirds or more of survey respondents agreed student-athletes should be able to use their status as athletes to be paid for appearances (66%), promote commercial products through social media platforms (71%), model or promote noninstitutional athletic apparel or equipment (75%), promote third-party products or services through traditional commercials (71%) and provide testimonials for a product or service (74%).

Additional topics:

  • Prohibition of promoting certain types of products or services: Ninety percent of the sample indicated there should be legislation to prohibit student-athletes from using their status as athletes to promote products and services such as alcohol, tobacco or sports gambling.
  • Use of institutional marks: While more than half of survey respondents indicated student-athletes should be allowed to use institutional marks in the promotion of their own work or service and in third-party promotion, approximately one-third believed it should not be allowed.
  • Mandatory reporting and compliance responsibilities: More than 75% of respondents believe student-athletes should be required to report to the institution all promotions in which they use their status as an athlete. Ninety percent of respondents indicated the NCAA should provide the membership and its constituents with resources to minimize the administrative and educational burden associated with this new legislation, including resources potentially provided by a third-party administrator. Two-thirds or more were confident or somewhat confident that Division III athletics departments can fulfill the various compliance responsibilities and education of the changes.
  • Professional services: While 40% of survey respondents indicated student-athletes should be permitted to engage professional services such as agents, an additional 30% were undecided.