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The era of name, image and likeness is here, with college athletes now able to profit from their own personal branding through endorsements or business ventures.
The NCAA paved the way for the change Wednesday when its board of directors suspended amateurism rules that prevented such business activity. The new rules, in most states, are in effect as of Thursday.
Clemson overnight Wednesday released its first NIL-related policy, explaining the issue and the rules surrounding it. Among the interesting facets of Clemson’s own NIL policy: Athletes can’t use Clemson’s facilities or uniforms for their NIL activity, and they can’t use the school’s intellectual property (logos, designs, photos, etc.) “at this time.” The guidance to Clemson athletes is for them to “disclose the terms of an NIL contract to the institution prior to signing the contract.”
While athletes in some states nationally have been given the green light to proceed with this new kind of business activity, Clemson said it will be “following the guidance of the State of South Carolina.”
That’s because the state’s own name, image and likeness law does not technically take effect until July 1, 2022. It’s expected that a change will expedite that start date. There’s a clause in the S.C. law saying that should the NCAA roll out and approve an NIL policy that falls within the state law, the attorney general can certify it — or approve a change — so that it can take effect sooner, rather than waiting until 2022.
How long it will take for such a change to work its way through the state of South Carolina — and how soon it might be be able to take effect here — weren’t immediately known.
How might a Clemson athlete make money in this new era? Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei can sometimes be seen wearing a chain that says “Big 5inco.” The new policy allows him, for example, to model for the jeweler where the chain was purchased and get paid for that endorsement.
Auburn quarterback Bo Nix was one of the first college athletes nationally to strike a deal publicly, revealing just after midnight that he was partnering with Milo’s Tea Company.
Here’s the full information sheet that Clemson shared Wednesday night:
WHAT IS NIL?
Beginning July 1, 2021, the NCAA has interim rules to allow student-athletes the ability to earn compensation for the use of their own NIL. This is intended as a resource and does not constitute legal advice and the terms are subject to change as state and national guidance changes.
So what is it? In the State of South Carolina:
An agreement in which an intercollegiate athlete participating in intercollegiate sports authorizes a person to use his or her name, image, or likeness and, in return, receives compensation.
It must represent a genuine payment for the use of his or her name, image, or likeness, independent of, his or her athletic participation or performance and not initial and continuing enrollment (recruiting inducement).
Compensation refers to money, goods or services, and may only be provided by a third party unaffiliated with Clemson.
Student-athletes may obtain an athlete agent/marketing representative, who must be registered in accordance with South Carolina Law, for the purpose of securing compensation for the use of his or her name, image, or likeness.
Compensation refers to money, goods or services, whether provided at the time or at any subsequent date.
The use of Clemson’s facilities and uniforms for NIL activity is not permitted.
The use of Clemson’s intellectual property (logos, designs, photos, etc.) for NIL activity is not permitted at this time.
NIL activity may not take place during the intercollegiate athlete’s participation in academic, athletic, or team-mandated activities.
Compensation for NIL activity may not come directly from the institution or its employees.
The student-athlete must meet all academic requirements of the NCAA and ACC and abide by institutional policies related to class absences.
Generally, the student-athlete must disclose the terms of an NIL contract to the institution prior to signing the contract.
Clemson student-athletes will use COMPASS to disclose their NIL activity.
Clemson University employees (including student workers) may not directly or indirectly create or facilitate NIL compensation opportunities.
Clemson University may not use or allow boosters (IPTAY members) to directly or indirectly create or facilitate compensation opportunities as a recruiting inducement or pay-for-play. However, boosters may be involved in approved NIL activity as defined by the state.
WHAT IS CLEMSON DOING TO SUPPORT STUDENT ATHLETES?
The Nieri Family Student-Athlete Enrichment Center has long been dedicated to the development of student-athletes off the field, and NIL is no different. Clemson has partnered with a number of internal and external educational resources to help prepare our student-athletes for success in this area.
Clemson has been partnered with Opendorse since 2015 for education and content delivery. Clemson is also partnering with CLC Compass for education and monitoring services, as well as guidance on financial literacy, tax implications and other areas.
MAY IPTAY MEMBERS ENTER INTO AN NIL AGREEMENT WITH A STUDENT-ATHLETE?
Yes, provided the compensation is for actual NIL activity by the student-athlete and not as a recruiting inducement or as a means of paying for athletics participation.
ARE THERE PROHIBITED CATEGORIES?
An intercollegiate athlete may not earn compensation for the use of his name, image, or likeness for the endorsement of:
illegal substances or activities
banned athletic substances
gambling, including, but not limited to, sports betting.
IS THERE A NATIONAL SOLUTION?
Not at this time. While the NCAA has modified its bylaws to no longer rule student-athletes ineligible for earning compensation based of their NIL, there are a number of national legislative proposals that exist. At this time, Clemson is following the guidance of the State of South Carolina.
MAY THE INSTITUTION, OR ITS EMPLOYEES, PASS ALONG OPPORTUNITIES TO STUDENT-ATHLETES?
No. The institution may not facilitate agreements between third parties and student-athletes at this time.
HOW LONG MAY AN NIL CONTRACT LAST?
The contract may not extend beyond an intercollegiate athlete’s participation in an athletic program at an institution of higher learning.