• Loading stock data...
Thursday, June 13, 2024

NCAA Tells Schools To Ignore State Laws When It Comes To NIL

  • The most jarring language in a new NIL memo asks schools to place NCAA rules above state laws.
  • Do schools ignore the NCAA’s rules in the hopes that state lawmakers will have their back?
Oklahoma State Cowboys running back Ollie Gordon (0) leaps over West Virginia Mountaineers defensive back Caleb Coleman (16) during a college football game between Oklahoma State and West Virginia at Boone Pickens Stadium.

The NCAA has sent schools a name, image, and likeness memo that attacks several actions schools are currently taking, and effectively asks schools to place NCAA rules above state laws. The memo was obtained and published by Sports Illustrated.

In recent months, multiple states have introduced or passed NIL laws that make it illegal for the NCAA to investigate and punish schools in their jurisdiction for taking certain NIL actions. The NCAA, however, is suggesting schools follow its rules even if they’re unenforceable in a state’s jurisdiction.

NCAA’s New NIL Rules Prohibit Schools From Negotiating Deals

The NCAA’s newest NIL guidance appears to create completely new rules.
October 26, 2022

The reasoning: “Schools who do not like the application of a particular rule should work through the NCAA governance process to change the rule,” the memo stated. In other words, if you don’t like the rules, you can change them or leave the NCAA.

“I think that the NCAA essentially challenging the schools to leave the ‘voluntary membership’ if they don’t agree to follow these piecemeal rules is hubristic and will backfire,” University of Minnesota law school adjunct professor Tarun Sharma told FOS.

The memo notes entities that are “so closely aligned with an institution that it is viewed as an extension of the university” are not allowed to offer NIL deals. That’s a veiled gesture at NIL collectives that are now part of athletic department fundraising arms, like the 12th Man+ Fund at Texas A&M.

Schools can’t provide “benefits” to boosters or donors — like tickets or suite access — in exchange for NIL collective money. Texas, for example, would be violating this rule given that its official fundraising arm, the Longhorn Foundation, plans to offer a “point system” for priority tickets to donors based on how much they contribute to the Texas One Fund collective. 

The NCAA also reiterated a prohibition on athletic department officials “facilitating” or “negotiating” NIL deals for athletes or deals contingent upon the school an athlete attends, or the city they live in.

Schools are now in an extremely difficult position, caught between rules of a membership organization they no longer want to follow, and state laws that promise to protect them. 

NIL attorney Darren Heitner told FOS: “The only appropriate guidance is to follow the law, not an arbitrary private association’s rule that is in direct conflict with that law.”

Schools could ignore the NCAA’s rules in the hopes that the governing body won’t try to enforce them. But if the NCAA issues punishments, schools would have to go to court to protect themselves.

“The lawyer in you would say, ‘Hey you’re protected by state law,’” sports attorney and NIL expert Dan Lust told FOS. “On the other hand, you have your experiences following college sports — that says if the NCAA is saying they’re going to punish schools, they have a long history of doing it. That means you could be in a situation where you’re protected by state law, but you’re being punished by the NCAA, and dealing with the public relations fallout of being punished.

“It’s a really high stakes game of chicken at this point.”

The NCAA does have one legal avenue to try to take down state laws, rather than just asking its schools to ignore them, according to Boise State sports law professor Sam Ehrlich. 

The NCAA could try to get courts to strike down certain state NIL laws based on the argument that they “unduly interfere with interstate commerce.” 

Though Ehrlich added: “The NCAA must feel that this is a bad argument either legally or politically, and so they haven’t pursued it. But that’s their avenue if they want to take it.”

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

The ‘Big’ in Big 12 Could Soon Be Replaced With a Sponsor’s Name

Allstate is said to be in discussions about a deal with the Big 12.
Apr 13, 2024; Hartford, CT, USA; UConn Huskies head coach Dan Hurley greets fans as he arrives at the state capitol before the teams victory parade.

The Many Beneficiaries of Dan Hurley’s UConn Career Crisis

His return inadvertently helped the players, athletic department, and perhaps the conference.
Jan 3, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; General view of the NFL shield logo signage before the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field.

Odds Stacked Against NFL in Multibillion-Dollar Sunday Ticket Trial

Why the class action trial does not look promising for the league.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Stanley Cup Final a Clash of Vastly Different Markets


Featured Today

Jan 7, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter (11) takes a three-point shot against the Golden State Warriors during the second half at Chase Center.

‘Bound to Happen’: The Age of the Sports Betting Scandal Has Arrived

A banishment, betting scheme, and guilty plea all in one scandal-filled span.
June 8, 2024

‘Experimental in Nature’: The Rapid, Confounding Rise of Streaming Bundles

Here’s why confusion continues to outweigh solutions in the streaming package boom.
June 2, 2024

The Nostalgia Market: Michael Jordan’s Memorabilia Remains Coveted, With Caveats

Due to scarcity, and sometimes, items’ undisclosed whereabouts, this world has limitations.
June 1, 2024

The Pac-12 Wants Everybody to Know That It Isn’t Dead Yet

With a broadcast studio and two schools, the league plans to rebuild.

NC State’s 1983 Title Team Sues NCAA Over Name, Image, and Likeness

The ’83 team is one of March Madness’s most memorable Cinderellas.
Jun 4, 2024; Eugene, OR, USA; A NCAA logo flag at Hayward Field.
June 5, 2024

How the NCAA Plans to Stop Employment in Its Tracks After Settlement

NCAA will use House settlement to end the threat of employee status.
June 10, 2024

Dan Hurley Spurns Lakers for UConn in Stunner

The UConn coach went to Los Angeles late last week to hear the team out.

How HOKA is Reimagining the NIL Relationship

HOKA, the renowned athletic footwear and apparel brand, is betting on a new reality with NIL.

How HOKA is Reimagining the NIL Relationship

HOKA, the renowned athletic footwear and apparel brand, is betting on a new reality with NIL.
General view of the stadium during the game between the LSU Tigers and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Charles Schwab Field Omaha. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
June 1, 2024

CWS Jell-O Shot Challenge: Everything You Need to Know

LSU set an all-time record last year, topping the whiteboard with 68,888 shots.
Sep 4, 2021; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; A detailed view of the ACC logo on the down marker used during the game between William & Mary Tribe and the Virginia Cavaliers at Scott Stadium.
May 30, 2024

ACC Attempts to Protect Media Contracts Amid Legal Battle for Its Survival

The conference has responded to a lawsuit filed by Florida’s attorney general.
Nov 4, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; The Alabama Crimson Tide and the LSU Tigers game during the second half at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
May 30, 2024

In Wake of Settlement, NCAA Considering Jersey, On-Field Corporate Logos

NCAA is in search of new revenue following last week’s historic settlement.