By Blanca Gonzalez, Aug. 24, 2021

On June 30, the National Collegiate Athletic Association adopted an interim name, image and likeness policy for student-athletes in all three divisions across the nation regardless of what institution they attend. The interim policy, which allows student-athletes to benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness, will not be effective until the federal legislation is adopted in Congress.

Much like professional athletes, the new interim policy would allow student-athletes of all three divisions to be involved in activities that promote their name, image and likeness to their benefit. However, a major clause in the policy prohibits these student-athletes from using names of the university they play for or brand names when engaging in these activities.

“What this is doing is blurring the line between a professional athlete and a collegiate athlete,” said Assistant Athletics Director Christie Joines.

The NCAA has left it up to each institution to implement its own policies regarding name, image and likeness activities. Joines stated that an institutional policy will likely be finalized by the beginning of fall semester at CPP.

According to Garrett Jensen, right back on the CPP men’s soccer team, student-athletes will have a chance to work with different companies, such as Monster Energy, as long as the brand or product does not violate any NCAA policies. For example, students will not be allowed to participate in name, image and likeness deals with alcohol companies. Jensen added that there will be no limits to the amount of profits student-athletes can earn through these deals.

Some experts expect recruitment to be more challenging because athletes will now be on the lookout for which schools they can make the most money at based on popularity and division level.

According to the NCAA, the interim policy has been in the works since October 2019, when the NCAA Board of Governors directed all three divisions to create flexibility in name, image, and likeness rules. Since it has been in effect, Bryce Young, a University of Alabama quarterback, has amounted nearly $1 million in likeness deals via his large social media following.

Student-athletes at CPP are excited for new opportunities the policy can create as they return to the fields and courts.

“The team has been joking about the policy because we’ll ask each other ‘Who’s going to get sponsored first?’ because everyone’s dream is to get sponsored,” said Jensen.

For some, gaining further exposure through social media plays an important role in reaping the benefits of the policy. Student-athletes can now partner with sponsors to advertise company products.

“I think this is also creating a new avenue for businesses to capitalize on how to market a whole new set of athletes that can now use their names and benefit from it,” said Jensen.

CPP athletes are currently waiting for CPP’s finalized policy to have a clearer idea of what their future ventures could be like.

Kaitlan Tucker, middle blocker for the women’s volleyball team, believes there are multiple ways in which student athletes can capitalize on the NIL policy.

“I know a lot of people who will be looking into influencer-kind of deals or social media promo deals, but we’re all just waiting on more guidance from the Athletic Department,” Tucker said. “Being a college athlete is a big dedication of our time, so I think it’s awesome that we’re able to receive any sort of benefits that come from it, so I’m really excited about it.”

Featured image courtesy of Tobias Flyckt.

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