MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A new era is beginning in college athletics.
The Division I Board of Directors has adopted new name, image and likeness guidelines that effectively suspend amateurism rules related to the subject, allowing student-athletes to profit from endorsements, sponsorships and other opportunities as of July 1, while still remaining eligible for NCAA competition.
“This is an important day for college athletes since they all are now able to take advantage of name, image and likeness opportunities,” said Mark Emmert, NCAA President. “With the variety of state laws adopted across the country, we will continue to work with Congress to develop a solution that will provide clarity on a national level. The current environment — both legal and legislative — prevents us from providing a more permanent solution and the level of detail student-athletes deserve.”
Wednesday’s move by the board of directors was years in the making, and corresponds with new NIL legislation in multiple states that will take effect July 1. It also follows Monday’s recommendation from the Division I Council, which is chaired by WVU director of athletics Shane Lyons, and puts a final stamp of approval on the NCAA’s interim NIL policy
While this policy allows student-athletes to begin profiting off their NIL almost immediately, the NCAA will still prohibit pay-for-play, meaning athletes cannot be paid to attend a specific school or paid based on their athletic performance.
Schools in states that don’t have NIL laws, like West Virginia, will follow the NCAA’s policy, while schools in states that have passed NIL legislation will adhere to their state laws. Texas, which is home to four Big 12 Conference members, is one of six states that has passed NIL legislation.
The policy also states that individuals can use a professional services provider — i.e. an agent, marketing consultant or tax advisor, among other services — to explore NIL activities, and such activities should be reported to their school.
The NCAA’s new policy is temporary and will remain in place until new rules are adopted by the NCAA, or until federal legislation is passed.
So what does this mean for student-athletes at WVU? It opens the door for athletes to monetize their NIL through endorsements and other means, and it’s possible that some athletes could begin such partnerships as early as Thursday.
WVU quarterback Jarret Doege said his teammates are well aware of this major paradigm shift in the NCAA, and that head coach Neal Brown has provided them with valuable resources on topics like branding, contracts and investing through the football team’s 5th Quarter program, which is directed by Paige Diggs.
But there are still a lot of unknowns regarding NIL, and there will be a lot more for athletes to learn during the early stages of this new era.
“There’s gonna be a lot of learning experiences with it as well,” Doege said. “It’s hard to tell really what’s gonna happen, but they’ve prepared us as well as they could.”
While he is interested in the subject. Doege said he isn’t prioritizing NIL activities this offseason.
“That [NIL] stuff will come second for me,” Doege said. “Football, personal health, mental health, family — all that will come, then I’ll check out the [NIL], but all that will come first.”