In case you haven’t heard, college athletes can now benefit from Your Name, Image, and Like (NIL). Late last month, the Supreme Court issued a landmark (and unanimous) decision that essentially held that the NCAA cannot limit the education-related benefits student-athletes receive for playing sports. Although the opinion did not specifically address NIL rights, it is clear that any effort made by the NCAA to restrict those rights will be construed as a violation of the antitrust laws of this country.
As such, the NCAA voted to suspend its NIL-related amateurism rules, thus allowing student-athletes to monetize their NIL rights without fear of being declared ineligible. There are still many unanswered questions regarding these issues; For example, there is not yet a federal law governing the NIL rights of student-athletes, so the specific rights of each athlete depend on the state in which he or she attends college, but for our purposes here at Pro Football Rumors, there are two main conclusions.
One, like Ben Volin of the Boston Globe Details, the NFLPA has issued a memo to agents making it clear that while they are free to sign marketing agreements with college players, such agreements cannot include incentives for those players to sign with the agent when they choose to become professionals. In fact, agents are not even allowed to have conversations with the player about future representation. It will be a difficult rule for the union to enforce, but it is worth noting.
Also, now there may be some players who choose to stay in college longer than they had before, as they could make more money from NIL college rights than from an NFL contract. Of course, prior to the developments of the past few weeks, the main factor in a student-athlete’s calculation was whether staying in school would improve their draft stock. Now that decision is a bit more complicated.
Admittedly, the stars and first-round picks who land millions of dollars worth of rookie contracts probably won’t be affected too much in their decision about when to turn pro. However, players who are popular figures on campus but project as last-round draft options will certainly have a lot to think about.
Said Agent Ron Slavin (via Chase Goodbread from NFL.com), “I think the guys who might stay in school are (popular) players in position of skill who are not in the top 100, who can make more money by staying in school than by going to the draft for a $ 250,000 signing bonus and maybe make a roster. When you can go back to your school, be the superstar and maybe win between 500 thousand and one million. “
We’ll have to wait until next year’s draft cycle to see how all of this plays out, and more legislation could certainly be passed in the meantime. Until then, interested fans can access the Supreme Court’s opinion. here, and can review a summary of the current status of NIL rights through this piece of the Athletic College football staff.