Understanding the NCAA’s NIL Policy and College Recruiting



Do you follow college sports? Have you seen the NCAA’s new policy? College Athletes can now be paid!

For the first time in NCAA history, college athletes can profit off of their name, image, and likeness. As one of the most notable changes in NCAA history, this new policy starts a new era of college athletics. 

Quick Revenue Breakdown:

The NCAA generates 995.9 million USD worth of revenue each year. From brand deals to television appearances, college athletics have a high-profit margin. In this new era of athlete compensation, let’s see some potential revenue hypotheticals to understand how much money is on the table.

How will it affect my school and recruiting?

Due to how new this policy is, it is hard to offer a solid claim for or against this policy. But, we can still offer some initial thoughts. With a focus on the impact on recruitment, we will review 3 potential factors. Those being; implementation time, the variance of guidelines, and extent of usage.

Implementation Time

The first area of consideration is the implementation time of this policy. The NIL policy was passed only a few short months ago. Thus, the NCAA and its athletic programs are still working out the policy’s rules and guidelines. So, at this point, all formal decisions are up to each individual program.
On one hand, many fear that this has the ability to influence both athletes and programs to act before thinking. These sudden decisions could impair recruitment opportunities. An athlete could join a program that has great NIL opportunities and fail to think it if best suits them.
Yet, it is also argued that this could also give programs an advantage by allowing them more time to present the best version possible. The better the benefits, the more appealing the program is to recruits. Through this lens, the “schools that create the strongest programs will immediately have a leg up on the rest” (Weber, 2021).

Varying Guidelines

The second considerable point is the variance of guidelines between states and athletic programs. Because of a lack of formal legislation, the NCAA is leaving many open avenues (NACDA, 2021).
It is up to the school and state to make sure that athletes are following NCAA guidelines, state laws, and school regulations. This allows for certain schools and states to have more lenient guidelines than others, and vice-versa. This brings up the concern of fairness and equity amongst athletic programs (Advisories, 2021).
Some argue that this could lead to unfair recruiting advantages. Whereas others suggest that this could force the NCAA to pass stricter regulations for the recruiting process

Extent of Usage

The last point is the extent of usage, or how people use the NIL benefits. Athletes do not deserve to be exploited for their abilities. But the NIL policy should not be exploited either. How programs and athletes choose to use their benefits is important to the success or failure of this policy.
One side argues that if this policy is exploited, the nature of recruiting is no longer based on the best athletic opportunity rather the best advantages. Meaning, athletes will choose a school for the wrong reasons.
Another side insists that these concerns can be minimized and mitigated by the implementation of preventative measures. Suggesting that the NCAA should work to mitigate faults in the policy for the benefit of all involved.

Final Thoughts:

Through examining three potential fractures in the policy, the ripple effect of its implementation is brought to light. Because the NCAA passed this policy in August, the pieces are still being worked out and are subject to change. Additionally, we have not seen this policy in action, many athletes and programs are just starting to utilize their rights. We will continue to track and monitor these changes.

What's Your Take?

Academic References:

Bayard, David. “After Further Review: How the N.C.A.A.’s Division I Should Implement Name, Image, and Likeness Rights to Save Themselves and Best Preserve the Integrity of College Athletics.” SSRN Electronic Journal, 2020, https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3528466.

NACDA. “Managing New Challenges in Recruiting and Revenue Generation.” Goulston&Storss, 14 July 2021.

Niehoff, Karissa L. “Mention of ‘Name, Image, Likeness’ Must Not Occur in Recruitment of Athletes.” SportDiscus, July 2021.

Weber, Sam “How NIL Rights Will Change College Recruiting.” Opendorse, 4 May 2021, https://opendorse.com/blog/how-nil-rights-impact-recruiting/.