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July 2022

    What is NIL? How are college athletes benefitting? While name, image, and likeness (NIL) rights have become a hot topic in the world of college athletics, many still don’t understand exactly what is going on. NIL reform started on July 1, 2021 and gave college athletes the power to control the use of their name, image, and likeness for commercial purposes. Understanding NIL rights and how they can be monetized is crucial for college athletes, as it can open up new revenue streams and opportunities for financial gain. In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of NIL rights for college athletes, including what they are, how they are protected, and how they can be monetized.What are NIL Rights?NIL rights refer to the ability of an individual to control the use of their name, image, and likeness for commercial purposes. In the context of college athletics, NIL rights give college athletes the ability to control (and monetize!) how their name, image, and likeness are used in merchandise, video games, and other commercial products. The NCAA and NIL RightsTraditionally, the NCAA has restricted college athletes from profiting off their NIL rights. This means that college athletes were not allowed to make money from endorsements or other forms of NIL compensation. However, this changed in the summer of 2021 when the NCAA updated their rules around amateurism and permitted all ~450,000 NCAA athletes to monetize their name, image, and likeness. Now, college athletes must adhere to the three rules in the NCAA’s interim NIL policy:QUID PRO QUO: Requirement of an action (such as a tweet) for compensation.NO DEALS CONTINGENT ON ENROLLMENT: It is not permitted for deals to specify that athletes must be a student at a specific university.NO PAY FOR PLAY: No NIL deals can be based on athletic performance.How College Athletes Can Monetize their NIL RightsWith the ability to monetize their NIL rights, college athletes now have endless new opportunities to earn money. This can include endorsement deals, sponsored content, and other forms of NIL compensation. College athletes can also create and sell their own merchandise, such as t-shirts, hats, and other items bearing their name, image, and likeness. In the first year, most NIL activations were done through the athlete’s personal social media account to promote the products or services of a brand.Legal Considerations for NIL Rights of College AthletesWhile college athletes now have the right to control the use of their name, image, and likeness for commercial purposes, there are certain legal considerations that must be taken into account. This includes complying with state and common laws, such as the right of publicity and privacy laws, as well as understanding the legal implications of licensing or selling NIL rights.NCAA RegulationsThe NCAA has its own set of regulations regarding NIL rights of college athletes. While they have loosened the rules with the passage of the interim NIL policy (outlined above), college athletes are still subject to many NCAA regulations. It is important for them to ensure they are …