I don’t know if you saw this announcement from earlier in the week:
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) passed the first legislation of its kind in college sports to allow its student-athletes the opportunity to be compensated for use of their Name, Image and Likeness (NIL). The legislation approved today by NAIA membership follows a year-long discussion on the topic and extends previous legislation relaxing NAIA rules related to amateurism and NIL.
The legislation, which is an amendment to existing language under the NAIA Amateur Code, allows a student-athlete to receive compensation for promoting any commercial product, enterprise, or for any public or media appearance. Additionally, it is now permissible for a student-athlete to reference their intercollegiate athletic participation in such promotions or appearances.
“This is a landmark day for the NAIA, and we are happy to lead the way in providing additional opportunities for our student-athletes,” said NAIA President and CEO Jim Carr. “The time was right for the NAIA to ensure our student-athletes can use their name, image and likeness in the same ways as all other college students.”
What’s driving the decision? This.
Where is this all coming from?
The Fair Pay to Play Act was passed into California law on Sept. 30, 2019 and will allow student-athletes at California colleges to promote products and earn money from endorsement deals (and can hire agents to help them do so) beginning in 2023. Under the law, schools, conferences and athletic associations (like the NAIA) are forced to allow students in California to take advantage of these opportunities.
Why is this a big deal?
California’s Fair Pay to Play Act supersedes NCAA and NAIA rules that a student-athlete can’t receive endorsement deals or accept payment for the use of NIL. Therefore, while a student-athlete will be able to legally earn money related to his/her athletic ability, it still currently violates NCAA and NAIA bylaws. The NAIA’s stance is to find common ground so that our California institutions can remain members of our association.While California is the only state to pass an NIL bill into law so far, similar legislation is being considered in at least 20 other states. There is also some discussion at the federal level.
Apparently, and unlike the NCAA, the NAIA can walk and chew gum at the same time. Not to mention read the writing on the wall.
The most amusing aspect of this decision is that now, in addition to everything else, the NCAA is going to have to come up with a rationale to explain why it can’t follow the same course of action the NAIA has adopted. I’m sure Mark Emmert is ready to dazzle Congress with his logic.