Sunday December 3, 2023

Alston Contributes to NIL Fiasco

  • The NCAA waited on the Alston ruling before voting on NIL rules to see if NIL proposals violated antitrust.
  • Now, the ruling complicates the NCAA's proposals even further, and rules are even more delayed than before.
Photo: Joseph Cress-Iowa City Press/Design Alex Brooks
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The Alston ruling itself won’t translate to cash payments. But it indirectly affects something that will: athletes profiting from their name, image, and likeness.

With NIL — as with many things — the NCAA insists on passing the strictest rules possible. But strict NIL regulations could be a violation of antitrust, so the NCAA wanted to wait on the Alston ruling.

Now, the high court has said the NCAA is subject to antitrust. It will be even harder for the governing body to draft and approve NIL laws by July 1, when other state laws take effect. 

The NCAA’s actions will bring a recruiting fiasco, future legal battles, and an overall loss of precious control. For athletes and the NIL industry, they created a complex web of rules and laws that no one seems to fully understand.

Confusion Mounts

The landscape of disparate state laws has confused not just athletes, but also agents and schools. 

Athletes aren’t sure when state laws go into effect — and even if they are, they don’t know whether to follow their home state laws or school state laws, University of Florida law professor and lawyer Darren Heitner told FOS. Agents don’t know if they can give “marketing guarantees/advances” to athletes. And athletic departments don’t know what types of companies they’re allowed to work with and how they should plan to review NIL contracts.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg with regard to the questions I have been receiving,” Heitner said.

Dustin Maguire, sports attorney and founder of, told FOS that he’s being asked what the correct “market value” for NIL deals will be, and who will come up with those numbers. 

“I look forward to getting answers to these questions myself,” he said.

Making Due

Despite the complications, NIL companies and athletes are forging ahead. There’s too much money projected to flow through this new industry for them to sit on their hands like the NCAA.

NIL marketplace Icon Source, for example, has been doing “outreach” primarily “in the states which have legislation starting on July 1,” EVP of Icon Source’s Collegiate Division Drew Butler told FOS.

Over at Florida-based marketplace Dreamfield, co-founder and CEO Luis Pardillo is testing technology, hiring, and working on a marketing plan. “There are many athletes that haven’t recognized the full potential of their brand,” he said. “But once they see their peers striking deals, they’ll soon capture their value.”

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