The NCAA Division II Legislation Committee has recommended several legislative proposals for the division that would permit student-athletes to benefit from their name, image and likeness, it announced Tuesday.
The proposals will now go on to be reviewed by the Division II Management Council and Presidents Council at their meetings on July 20-21 and Aug. 5, respectively. The Presidents Council will make the final decision on which legislative proposals advance to the 2021 NCAA Convention, where they will be decided through Division II’s one-institution, one-vote legislative process. Any of these legislative proposals passed at the Convention would take effect Aug. 1, 2021, the NCAA said.
The recommendations were guided by input from a survey taken by more than 1,000 representatives of member institutions and conferences, including student-athletes. Two additional national Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee members joining the Legislation Committee during its name, image and likeness discussions, the NCAA said.
The 10 concepts covered by the recommendations are as follows:
- Student-athlete work product: Permit student-athletes to use their name, image and likeness to promote their own athletically related work product. Examples would include athletics apparel, athletics equipment or writing a book about the impact of athletics on their life. Current legislation permits student-athletes to use their name, image and likeness to promote nonathletically related work products (e.g., music, novels), provided there’s no reference made to their involvement in intercollegiate athletics.
- Endorsement of third-party product or service: Permit student-athletes to promote athletically or nonathletically related products or services, subject to institutional policies. Student-athletes also could include their athletics status and ability in any such promotions. Currently, student-athletes are restricted from using their name, image or likeness to promote a commercial product if they make any references to their student-athlete status.
- Modeling noninstitutional athletics apparel: Permit student-athletes to model noninstitutional athletics apparel and equipment. Current legislation allows student-athletes to model nonathletically related apparel.
- Monetized media platforms unrelated to athletics: Permit student-athletes to establish a monetized media platform (for example, on YouTube, Instagram) unrelated to athletics. This would allow student-athletes to receive compensation for promotion of commercial products through that media platform. Current legislation restricts student-athletes from using their name, image or likeness to promote a commercial product if any references are made to their involvement in intercollegiate athletics.
- Autographs: Permit student-athletes to be paid for autographs while not representing their institution. Student-athletes would be allowed to be compensated for autographs either in conjunction with an endorsement opportunity or independent of their institution. Currently, student-athletes are not permitted to be paid for their autographs in any circumstance.
- Appearances: Permit student-athletes to be paid for appearances at commercial businesses and charitable, educational or nonprofit agencies, subject to institutional policies. Student-athletes could include their athletics status and ability in any such promotions. Current legislation restricts student-athletes from using their name, image or likeness to promote a commercial product or service, including receiving payment to appear at a commercial business.
- 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. Institutions would be responsible for educating student-athletes on which apparel items are expected to be retained for institutional events such as team travel and promotional activities. Currently, student-athletes are prohibited from selling these items before exhausting their eligibility.
- 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. The Legislation Committee emphasized that it does not believe this should include education-related items of need (e.g., tuition, laptop) due to concerns about the impact on existing financial aid limits, potential for improper recruiting inducements and other challenges related to avoiding pay-for-play situations. Current legislation allows for institutions to organize fundraisers for student-athletes or their family members in similar extreme circumstances. This proposal maintains those same opportunities while removing the requirement that the institution oversee such fundraisers.
- Fees for private lessons: Permit student-athletes to promote their availability for private lessons. If institutional facilities are used, student-athletes would have to follow all applicable institutional processes for renting facility space in a manner consistent with that used by the general public. Currently, student-athletes are permitted to receive compensation for teaching private lessons, but they are not allowed to promote the availability of such lessons to the general public.
- Fees for camps/clinics: Permit student-athletes to operate their own camps and clinics. If institutional facilities are used, student-athletes would have to follow all applicable institutional processes for renting facility space in a manner consistent with that used by the general public. Currently, student-athletes are prohibited from conducting their own camps and clinics.
- Allowing commercial businesses 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. Institutions, conferences or a noninstitutional charitable, nonprofit or government agency currently can use a student-athlete’s name, image or likeness for promotional activities. When that institutional fundraiser takes place at a commercial establishment, however, that establishment is currently not permitted to advertise the presence of student-athletes.
- Licensing of student-athlete’s name, image and likeness, unrelated to work product: Allow student-athletes to license their name, image and likeness for commercial products unrelated to their work product. For example, if a student-athlete becomes well known by a nickname, this proposal would allow that student-athlete to license that nickname on commercial products sold by a third party. Current legislation restricts student-athletes from using their name, image or likeness to promote a commercial product or service.
The Legislation Committee also recommended a series of guidelines for the administrative framework in place to enforce the above concepts in a transparent manner:
- Institutions would be permitted to counsel student-athletes in name, image and likeness activities but not arrange such opportunities. Permissible assistance 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.
- Student-athletes would have to obtain approval to use institutional marks for any commercial purposes.
- Student-athletes would be precluded from using their name, image or likeness to promote products or services not permitted by NCAA legislation, including sports wagering companies and banned substances.
- Student-athletes could not miss class to participate in activities related to use of their name, image and likeness.
- Institutions would have the flexibility to determine how to appropriately educate their student-athletes, boosters and other constituent groups on name, image and likeness rules.
- Reporting of name, image and likeness activities would be done on an annual basis. The committee recommends that a template form be created, but institutions would be permitted to establish their own forms based on institutional needs and applicable state laws. Institutions could choose to require reporting on a more frequent basis. The committee expressed support for exploration of a potential third-party administrator to oversee reporting to reduce the burden on Division II athletics departments.
- Prospective student-athletes would be able to retain professional services for name, image and likeness activities, as well as professional athletics opportunities, if any agreement related to professional sports opportunities is 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. The committee encouraged use of the NCAA Eligibility Center portal to educate prospective student-athletes on applicable legislation related to name, image and likeness.
- Current student-athletes would be allowed to have access to professional services needed for name, image and likeness activities but 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.
In April, the NCAA announced that it would move to “modernize” name-image-likeness rules for student-athletes by 2021-2022, agreeing to allow athletes to receive compensation for things like social media, personal businesses and personal appearances, provided they fall under a set of guiding principles established by the board. The NCAA release made clear that schools are still not allowed to pay athletes, but athletes can now earn money from third parties in certain cases.
Last month, commissioners from the Power 5 conferences called on Congress to enact national, federal legislation on this matter ahead of the NCAA’s formal implementation of its own rules. Last week, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio introduced the “Fairness in College Athletics Act,” which aims to create a national standard for college athletes to legally get paid for activities like promotional appearances, signing autographs or having their image used in advertising campaigns for televised sports.