Everything you need to know about the NCAA and NIL debate


College sport is in the midst of its most significant changes in a generation. Current athletes, the NCAA, state lawmakers and members of Congress have all proposed rules that would provide athletes with varying degrees of new protections and opportunities to earn money by selling their name, image rights. and likeness (NIL) while playing in college.

Who will have the final say on these new rules? How big will the new opportunities be? These issues will be settled in the spring and summer of 2021, and the space below will be dedicated to providing you with the most recent and detailed information on this process.

Go to a section: Calendar | Chronology | Legislation | The beginning

The last

The likelihood of a federal law establishing a clear set of rules for Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) to materialize in the near future appeared to decrease dramatically in June as members of Congress moved into a division partisan on the scope of reform needs.

The Senate Trade Committee held its sixth hearing on university sports legislation on June 17. The two-hour discussion highlighted the growing rift between Republicans and Democrats. Committee chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA) told reporters after the hearing that it was safe to assume that no bills would come to a vote until the name laws came into force, the image and resemblance of the states in early July.

The panelists included three female athletes – two recent graduates and a current Vanderbilt student – and Marty McNair, the father of late Maryland football player Jordan McNair. They urged Congress to include a basic health and safety standard as well as additional rights for college athletes in any legislation to reform NCAA rules.

“It is impossible to separate NIL from health and safety concerns,” former Georgetown basketball player Sari Cureton told senators Thursday. “Because it’s our bodies that built this industry.”

NCAA executives have asked Congress for help in passing legislation that would create a uniform NIL standard across all 50 states. Republicans who have proposed bills say they have tried to keep the scope narrow by only dealing with NIL rules in an attempt to get something through quickly. Democrats who proposed the bills argue that now is the time for more substantial changes to the NCAA to help athletes in areas that go beyond giving them the opportunity to earn money while in their lives. studies.

Cureton said the general public underestimates the priority coaches place on winning matches and sports departments place a good public image. Her fellow panelists, former UCLA track athlete Christina Chenault and Vanderbilt runner Kaira Brown, said these priorities often come at the expense of athlete education, health or other needs. They urged Congress to ensure that any legislation they pass on varsity sports keeps athletes (not institutions) at the center of their concerns.

Of the dozen senators who asked questions and shared comments during the hearing, only one was from the Republican Party. Many Republicans who have been at the forefront of NIL legislation decided not to attend the hearing, according to a Sports Illustrated report.

Both sides were working on a compromise under Cantwell’s leadership, but appear to have reached an impasse. The result is that varsity athletes will likely have different levels of opportunities to earn money from endorsements this summer depending on which state they attend school in.

Calendar: the continuation

May or June: The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the antitrust case of Alston v. NCAA March 31. While the case is not directly related to the name, image and likeness legislation, the question put to the judges could play a role in shaping the laws. Later this year. The NCAA argues that it should be responsible for defining the line between amateurism and professional sports. The court’s ruling and the language they use to share it could prove to be influential in future legal battles. The Supreme Court is expected to release its decision before the end of June.

June 9: Mark Emmert and several others are expected to speak at a Senate hearing on congressional college sports legislation.

June 23: The NCAA Division I board is expected to act, “if possible”, on the proposed changes to the NIL rule changes.

1st of July: State laws should begin to take effect. Athletes attending school in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas may begin accepting sponsorship agreements on that date. The NCAA could take legal action against the states before July 1 and seek an injunction from a judge which, if granted, could delay enactment of the law.

Timeline: how we got here

September 30, 2019: California passes a law introduced by Senator Nancy Skinner that, from 2023, will prohibit schools from punishing athletes who accept sponsored money while in college. The NCAA called the legislation an “existential threat” to college amateur sports when it was introduced months earlier.

October 29, 2019: The NCAA Board of Governors unanimously agrees that it is time to modernize its rules of name, image and likeness. The board calls on the three divisions of the NCAA to establish rules by January 2021 that allow athletes to make money while maintaining “the college model.”

April 29, 2020: An NCAA-appointed task force is outlining its suggestions on how Division I should change its rules, including details on opportunities and restrictions for future agreements with athletes. The Division I board formally submitted these proposed changes in November 2020 and plan to put them to a vote in January 2021.

June 12, 2020: Florida passes state law with an expected effective date of July 1, 2021, dramatically reducing the time it takes to create a uniform national solution.

July 22, 2020: Emmert, the president of the NCAA, reiterates a request from Congress for help in creating a federal NIL law at a Senate hearing in Washington, DC Several senators have urged Emmert and the NCAA to broaden the scope of their reform efforts if they wanted Capitol Hill’s help.

Aug 2, 2020: A group of Pac-12 football players are threatening to boycott the season while sharing a list of demands that included giving the players a share of the sports department’s revenue. A similar group of national stars formed a week later and declared their intention to form a college football players association in the future.

September 24, 2020: Representatives Anthony Gonzalez, R-Ohio, and Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., Are introducing a federal bill that would allow NIL agreements with certain restrictions in hopes of preventing endorsements from disrupting the recruiting process.

December 10, 2020: Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Introduces federal legislation that would allow certain NIL agreements and also create an antitrust exemption that would protect the NCAA from certain types of future lawsuits.

December 16, 2020: The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the NCAA’s appeal against a federal judge’s ruling in the Alston v. NCAA. While not directly related to the NIL rules, the Supreme Court’s ruling in this case could impact the NCAA’s control over the definition of amateurism in the future.

December 17, 2020: The senses. Cory Booker, DN.J., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Present legislation calling for a major overhaul of NCAA rules and college sport governance.

January 11, 2021: NCAA Division 1 council decides to indefinitely delay its vote on name, image and likeness rules, citing concerns raised by a letter from the Department of Justice regarding possible antitrust implications of changing its rules. Emmert, the president of the NCAA, said he was “frustrated and disappointed” by the delay.

February 4, 2021: Senator Chris Murphy, D-Conn., And Representative Lori Trahan, D-Mass., Are introducing federal legislation that would create a completely unlimited market for varsity athlete approval agreements.

March 31, 2021: The Supreme Court heard argument in the Alston v. NCAA.

April 1, 2021: NCAA President Mark Emmert met three male basketball players trying to raise awareness – using the hashtag #NotNCAAProperty – of what they see as unfair treatment of college athletes. The players have asked the NCAA to pass a temporary blanket waiver that would allow all athletes to make money from sponsorship deals next school year while more permanent decisions take shape.


The NCAA has asked Congress for help in creating a federal NIL law. While several federal options have been offered, it is becoming increasingly likely that state laws will begin to take effect before a nationwide change is made. There are six states with NIL laws already in place and over a dozen others that are actively pursuing legislation.

States with laws in place
Alabama – Adopted: April 2021. Entry into force: July 1, 2021.
Arizona – Adopted: March 2021. Entry into force: July 23, 2021.
Arkansas – Adopted: April 2021. Entry into force: January 1, 2022.
California – Adopted: September 2019. Entry into force: January 1, 2023.
Colorado – Adopted: March 2020. Entry into force: January 1, 2023.
Florida – Adopted: June 2020. Entry into force: July 1, 2021.
Georgia – Adopted: May 2021. Entry into force: July 1, 2021.
Maryland – Adopted: May 2021. Entry into force: July 1, 2023.
Michigan – Adopted: December 2020. Entry into force: December 31, 2022.
Mississippi – Adopted: April 2021. Entry into force: July 1, 2021.
Montana – Adopted: April 2021. Entry into force: June 1, 2023.
Nebraska – Adopted: July 2020. Entry into force: no later than July 1, 2023 (schools can implement a new policy at any time).
Nevada – Adopted: June 2021. Comes into force: January 1, 2022.
New Jersey – Adopted: September 2020. Entry into force: September 2025.
New Mexico – Adopted: April 2021. Entry into force: July 1, 2021.
Oklahoma – Adopted: May 2021. Entry into force: July 1, 2023.
Caroline from the south – Adopted: May 2021. Entry into force: July 1, 2022.
Tennessee – Adopted: May 2021. Effective date: January 1, 2022.
Texas – Adopted: June 2021. Effective date: July 1, 2021.

States with bills in legislative process
There are 11 states whose bills are actively progressing through the legislative process: Connecticut (2021), Illinois (2021), Louisiana (2021), Massachusetts (2022), Missouri (2021), New York (2021), North Carolina North (2024), Ohio (2021), Oregon (2021), Pennsylvania (2021), Rhode Island (2022).

Where it all started

to play


Dan Murphy explains the “Fair Pay to Play Act”, which would provide financial compensation for college athletes in California.

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