Name, Image and Likeness Common questions

From the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference

Can a student-athlete have an agent or company that is helping them find NIL agreements?

Student-athletes may hire an agent or advisor solely to assist with negotiating NIL opportunities, but NCAA rules still govern the hiring of an agent to market athletic abilities or to pursue professional playing opportunities.

Can a student-athlete solicit money through a ‘gofundme’ type online fundraiser?

All funds received by a student-athlete must be earned funds. For further explanation on the difference between an ‘earned’ and ‘unearned’ fund, see the March 25, 2011, Official Interpretation.

Remember, the NCAA has specifically stated that compensation for athletics performance; specific athletic achievement; or an inducement to enroll or continue attendance at a member institution, is prohibited. In addition, compensation may only be for worked actually performed (or the sale of items which the student-athlete owns) and at the going rate.

Could coaches attend an event that a student-athlete is hosting. As an example, if the student-athlete hosts a camp, can the coach make an appearance or advertise that they will be there?

I see a distinction between a coach just visiting or supporting a student-athlete during an event, versus marketing that coach’s participation.

If a coach wanted to support a student-athlete’s activity, the bylaw 17 rules related to in-season and out-of-season activities would apply to any athletically related activity. For non-athletically related promotional activities, I believe the coach could certainly visit or support the student-athlete; however, I do not believe it would be within the framework of the institution being ‘hands off’ of the endorsement agreements if a coach’s involvement was marketed.  

Can a student-athlete use institutional logos, etc as a part of their promotional activity?

This is an institutional decision that likely exists outside of athletics.

Institutions should have (and likely already have) a written policy regarding the use of institutional logos, verbiage, name, nicknames or team uniforms by all students stating that the institution owns the rights to all institutional marks. The policy should be published for all to access and include how an individual gains permission to use those marks, if applicable. 

Depending on the institution’s policy regarding the use of institutional branding, it may not even be legally allowable for a student-athlete to use items of apparel that were purchased through public sale (for example the bookstore).

Can a student-athlete use institutional uniforms, facilities or equipment?

Institutions may limit the use of institutional uniforms but must be consistent across all sports and student-athletes. Institutions should have a written policy outlining when and how students may use institutional facilities and equipment for financial benefit. Providing institutional facilities and/or equipment to student-athletes for no cost or at a reduced rate could result in an NCAA violation. 

Aug. 9, 2021