Image courtesy of The Boston Globe. 

Up until a few months ago, only serious college sports fans knew about the term NIL. Now, this term is more widespread and is guaranteed to continue commanding media attention. 

For decades, college athletes have not been allowed the opportunity to profit from their Name, Image and Likeness (NIL). This lack of profit has been a matter of contention regarding the NCAA. After years of court cases, political pressure, and significant activism, the NCAA has now allowed student-athletes to profit off of their NIL. 

One of the major turning points for student-athletes to be able to profit from NIL was the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling against the NCAA in the case NCAA v. Alston. Their June 21, 2021 ruling upheld the previous ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The new NIL policy was put in place shortly after on July 1, 2021. Since then, the college sports world has changed forever. This new policy will have wide implications, so it’s likely to continue trending in the media. 

While the NCAA has put out a standard list of rules to follow, there’s not much detail in it. They intentionally left it open for interpretation. This is where state legislation comes in, because each state can create different legislation. States might have significant differences regarding their rules for college athletes. 

For Virginia, the state’s general assembly recently passed legislation governing NIL. Athletic directors from several Virginia colleges were assisting in that process.

Mason Basdikis, a senior at Longwood who plays softball was one of the very first athletes to have a partnership with a company.  Bojangles reached out shortly after the NCAA policy changed. 

She expressed the attitudes of other Longwood athletes in regard to NIL as very positive. She believes that this will gives lots of opportunities for athletes. 

While this is a great benefit for student-athletes, it can also help the universities. It appears that universities with larger markets will be able to capitalize on that. Athletes might be more interested in signing with colleges that’re well known or have a history of players earning lots of money related to their NIL.

But with expansions in social media, the landscape is new territory. Athletes at smaller colleges might have lots of new opportunities. Even athletes in less popular sports with large social media followings will potentially have a competitive edge. 

Deputy Athletics Director Rick Canter discussed how Longwood is not involved with students receiving sponsorship for their NIL. 

“We don’t have a direct or indirect association with setting up any of these deals. It’s between the student-athlete and the vendor to their party member,” said Canter.

With major support from colleges regarding NIL, Longwood stands in concurrence with that.

“Longwood athletics fully supports the legislative change of NIL,” said Canter.

Moving forward, there is likely to be legislative changes either at the state or federal level regarding players profiting of their NIL. While time will tell what will happen in the future, this is a historical change for college athletes. 

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