New NCAA policy allows endorsement deals
It’s been a week since the National Collegiate Athletic Association announced policy changes allowing college athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness, or NIL.
UCSB Athletic Director John McCutcheon isn’t ready to make projections, but he anticipates athletic departments will be grappling with these changes for the next six months to a year.
The NCAA’s policy allows athletes to follow their state’s law regarding NIL. In states without NIL laws yet, athletes can profit freely.
California was the first state to pass legislation allowing college athletes to sign endorsement deals, but the law isn’t set to go into effect until 2023. The state legislature is currently reviewing Senate Bill 26, which would push the date up to Sept. 1 and allow community college athletes to benefit as well.
The first state NIL laws took effect last Thursday, weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the NCAA couldn’t limit educational benefits.
Mr. McCutcheon said that ruling didn’t change much by itself but may have led to the new NIL policy.
“What it did was send a signal from the Supreme Court that any type of legislation had to be flexible for the student athletes,” he told the News-Press Tuesday.
NIL laws are more of a shock to programs. In an age of social media influencers, athletes have access to a plethora of endorsement opportunities.
“Previously, student athletes couldn’t do things that a normal student could,” he said. “Where this ultimately will go, I don’t think any of us know. There are so many different laws in place.”
UCSB has two staff members dedicated to reviewing NCAA rules and making sure the program complies. NCAA compliance positions are a mainstay of Division I athletics.
“We’ve got more things that we have to monitor than you can imagine,” Mr. McCutcheon said.
He will be working with an agency for NIL rules. He said many other teams are contracting with the agency as well.
Athletes must notify their program of any deals, but schools can’t actively set up endorsements. It is yet to be seen how NIL laws may affect recruiting.
“There’s a lot of speculation that only a lot of high-profile athletes will benefit, but I think there’s a lot of opportunities for all athletes,” Mr. McCutcheon said.
In the past week, athletes have already signed deals with nationwide corporations and local shops.
Will the new rules lead to corruption in teams looking to get ahead? Mr. McCutcheon can’t speculate what will happen.
“As history’s dictated, there’s always somebody out there that looks to create an advantage over other teams,” he said. “But we will not let it happen on our campus.”
These changes are enacted as coaches end an odd school year of recruiting team members via Zoom and COVID-19 restrictions.