The last several weeks have brought numerous developments in how the NCAA is seeking to regulate (or in some contexts, de-regulate) the ability of student-athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness ("NIL"). This update aims to identify these developments, their implications on the NIL market, and what has remained unchanged with respect to the foregoing. These developments include (i) new disclosure and transparency rules for parties involved with NIL deals with NCAA Division I student-athletes (the "New NIL Protections"), (ii) recent penalties for recruiting violations in connection with NIL activities, and (iii) additional proposals from the NCAA pertaining to school involvement in NIL activities.1

These developments are part of a greater trend suggesting that the NCAA has become more receptive to the reality of student-athlete compensation in light of the mounting legal challenges it faces against its rules restricting such compensation. As we transition from what has been referred to as "the Wild West"2 of NIL deals in college sports to what will hopefully become a more "Gilded Age," the NCAA's role in governing NIL practices for student-athletes is likely to continue evolving.

New NIL Disclosure and Transparency Rules

On January 10, 2024, the NCAA Division I Council adopted the New NIL Protections,3 which will go into effect on August 1, 2024 after official ratification.4 According to the NCAA, the New NIL Protections are designed to protect student-athletes by promoting the sharing and centralization of information related to NIL deals such as contract terms and trustworthy service providers. The four specific New NIL Protections are:

  1. Voluntary registration. The NCAA will establish a "voluntary registration process for NIL service providers (e.g., agents, financial advisors)" so student-athletes are better able to make informed decisions as they select service providers.
  2. Disclosure requirements. Student-athletes will be required to disclose to their schools the terms included and information related to NIL agreements (e.g., description of services rendered, contract term length, compensation and payment structure, and contact information for involved parties and service providers) exceeding $600 in value, no later than 30 days after entering into or signing an agreement. The schools will deidentify and provide the data to the NCAA, and such data will be used by the NCAA to "develop an aggregated database."
  3. Standardized contracts. The NCAA will develop "a template contract and recommended contract terms" and educate student-athletes on contractual obligations.
  4. Comprehensive NIL education. The NCAA will develop a plan to "provide ongoing education and resources to support student-athletes on policies, rules and best practices pertaining to NIL."5

New Proposals Regarding School Involvement in NIL Activities

As part of its January 2024 updates, the NCAA's Division I Council also introduced proposals pertaining "to school involvement and recruiting in NIL activities."6 The proposals could be adopted as early as April 2024, and would "remove national restrictions on the level of support provided by schools and their third-party service providers to enrolled student-athletes as they pursue NIL opportunities."7

These proposals still would not permit schools to directly compensate student-athletes, but would allow schools to "identify potential NIL opportunities . . . and even facilitate deals between student-athletes and third parties."8 Such proposals would continue to prohibit a school from funding an "NIL entity"9 and prohibit "an NIL entity from engaging in any contact . . . with or providing any benefits to a prospect, potential transfer [student-athlete] or any individual associated with them, until the prospect signs a letter of intent, participates in summer activities or practices with the team, or enrolls at the school and attends classes."10

The proposal to allow schools to facilitate NIL deals but not directly compensate student-athletes for their NIL is a noteworthy change as it appears to deviate from NCAA President Charlie Baker's December 2023 Letter that suggested schools would be allowed to enter into NIL deals directly with student-athletes.11

Recent Penalties and Investigations Relating to NIL

As the NCAA pushes forward on several policy changes that may be adopted later this year, the NCAA has recently pursued enforcement actions against member schools for violations of NCAA recruitment and NIL policies, which is some of the first reported enforcement activity related to NIL since the NCAA's interim policy on NIL (allowing student-athletes to enter into NIL deals, but continuing to prohibit pay-for-play and unfair recruiting inducements) went into effect.

On January 11, 2024, the NCAA announced that a Florida State University ("FSU") assistant football coach violated certain NCAA rules in April 2022 by facilitating an impermissible recruiting contact between a transfer prospect and a booster. During this interaction, the booster allegedly encouraged the prospect to enroll at FSU and offered an NIL deal as a recruiting inducement, with a value of approximately $15,000 per month. The NCAA claimed that the same assistant coach then violated NCAA ethical conduct rules in February 2023 and November 2023 by allegedly providing false or misleading information about his involvement.12 Under the Negotiated Resolution between the NCAA and FSU (the "Negotiated Resolution"),13 the NCAA and FSU agreed to "Level II" standard penalties, including:

  • a 1% football budget + $5,000 fine;
  • reduction of five football scholarships and reduction in paid visits and recruiting days over a two-year probation period;
  • a three-game suspension and restriction from Fall off-campus recruiting for the assistant coach;
  • a requirement that FSU dissociate from the booster for three years; and
  • a requirement that FSU dissociate from the NIL collective where the booster served as chief executive officer for one year.14

Furthermore, during the applicable disassociation period, FSU must refrain from accepting any assistance from the collective and the booster or the booster's business interests that would aid in the recruitment of prospective student-athletes or the support of enrolled student-athletes, however the collective and any business interest of the booster are expressly permitted to continue working directly with student-athletes for NIL opportunities.15

The NCAA has previously pursued penalties for violation of its policies, but FSU's Negotiated Resolution is the first significant reported penalty relating directly to NIL collectives and the use of NIL as a recruiting inducement.16 In February 2023, the NCAA published a negotiated resolution with the University of Miami for recruiting violations that occurred in April 2022, finding that the University of Miami women's basketball head coach violated NCAA rules by facilitating an impermissible contact between a booster and two prospective women's basketball players. However, the NCAA reported that it did not develop any facts directly linking NIL activities to the prospects' recruitment to, or decision to enroll at, the University of Miami.17

In addition, there are several ongoing NCAA investigations of schools for potential NIL and recruitment violations. On January 19, 2024, media outlets announced that the University of Florida's football program is under NCAA investigation based on a June 9, 2023 notice of inquiry, which some have reported is based on the failed NIL deal of former signee Jaden Rashada with the now defunct Gator Collective.18 On January 30, 2024, it was reported that the NCAA is investigating the University of Tennessee for potential recruiting violations involving its high-profile donor collective, the Volunteer Club.19 The investigation is looking at potential "major" violations in multiple sports, including possible violations of the NCAA's NIL rules.20

The penalties against FSU and the current pending investigations signal that the NCAA is currently taking a closer look at potential unfair recruiting inducements tied to NIL, in particular with respect to NIL collectives. As the NCAA continues to investigate other schools for potential recruitment violations, it remains to be seen if the penalties levied against FSU will now become the norm, or if the FSU sanctions will serve as an outlier moving forward.

Legislative Efforts and Proposal Updates

Congressional NIL legislative efforts are ongoing. In President Baker's January 10, 2024 "State of College Sports" address at the NCAA Convention, he stressed the need for congressional action for "special status" to student-athletes so that "schools and conferences can engage in NIL and enhanced educational support without turning the student-athletes into something they are definitely not, which is employees."21 In addition, President Baker spoke at a legislative hearing on January 18, 2024 to address a discussion draft of the Fairness, Accountability, and Integrity in Representation of College Sports Act (FAIR College Sports Act), a college-sports bill in the U.S. House of Representatives concerning a national framework for protecting NIL and establishing a non-governmental organization to oversee enforcement and provide NIL guidance.22 Likewise, the commissioners of four major historically Black college and university conferences (known as the "4HBAC") have met with White House and congressional figures regarding NIL, employment status for student-athletes, and the impact on their conferences.23

President Baker's December 2023 "Forward Looking" proposed NIL changes for Division I member schools are still undergoing review.24 These include (1) Division I schools offering enhanced educational benefits to their student-athletes, (2) Division I schools entering into NIL licensing opportunities directly with their student-athletes, and (3) the "highest resource[d]" Division I schools (a) within the framework of Title IX, investing at least $30,000 per year into an enhanced educational trust fund for at least half of their eligible student-athletes; and (b) committing to work with peer institutions to create a separate set of rules (including in the areas of scholarship commitment, roster size, recruitment, transfers, and NIL).25 In the "State of College Sports" address, President Baker underscored the importance of NIL reforms to the NCAA bylaws to bring clarity and consumer protections to student-athletes and their families, and he also referenced positive feedback from student-athletes and NCAA members that the NCAA has received on these suggested reforms.26

As the NCAA advocates for these policy changes, it continues to fight ongoing litigation on multiple fronts, including antitrust challenges brought by state attorneys general against the NCAA's NIL and transfer eligibility rules and lawsuits from current and former NCAA student-athletes seeking cash payments, lost earnings, and status as employees.27 While the NCAA's progressive new policies and President Baker's NIL comments may be seen as a risk mitigation strategy in light of these lawsuits, the impact and any changes that result from these lawsuits remain to be seen.28

Key Takeaways: What's Ahead

The NCAA's latest rule changes will provide student-athletes with more resources and transparency into the NIL market, including relevant contractual terms and third parties involved in facilitating deals. Additionally, the proposals announced by the NCAA provide insight on the role that schools and third-party organizations can be expected to have in the future with respect to NIL deals. The status of NIL in collegiate sports remains a moving target on various fronts (e.g., litigation, legislation, and NCAA policy), but these proposals and policy changes all appear to be trending toward greater opportunities for NIL sponsorships and collaborations with student-athletes (both for third-party sponsors and potentially for schools directly). Participants in the NIL market should consider the impact to the following areas:

  • Standardized Contracts. Consistent with the NCAA's stated interest in protecting student-athletes, the proposed template NIL agreements and recommended provisions may be expected to contain terms that are licensor-favorable (i.e., student-athlete favorable) with respect to length of contract term and any restrictions imposed on the student-athlete (such as any exclusivity obligations).29
  • Disclosure Requirements. Parties drafting NIL agreements should keep an eye toward transparency and the precedential value of their terms, as such agreements will soon become part of the NCAA's aggregated database.
  • Enforcement Actions. The NCAA has demonstrated a willingness to punish infractions related to NIL activities. NCAA member schools, coaches, boosters, collectives, student-athletes and their agents, and companies interested in engaging student-athletes for sponsorships, should take caution to ensure that they are following current NCAA and university policies, as well as applicable state regulations, in connection with student-athlete NIL deals. Contract terms will likely need flexibility to adapt to rule changes during the course of the agreement. Additionally, schools will need to consider the impact of the latest proposals on entities that are associated with or "closely aligned" with the school. Further, under current rules, the NCAA enforcement staff and Committee on Infractions will presume a violation has occurred unless the member school clearly demonstrates that the behaviors in question were in compliance.30

Parties engaging in NIL deals should continue to monitor the evolving landscape in NIL, considering that school and NCAA polices, as well as state and federal legislation, currently create a complex patchwork of rules with which NIL deals must comply. Flexibility to adapt and react to changes quickly will likely be key to successful NIL programs.


1. This update focuses on NIL-related developments and does not address the recent National Labor Relations Board decision that members of the Dartmouth College's men's basketball team can be considered employees under the National Labor Relations Act, which, among other rights, grants them the right to unionize. See the following for more information: Trustees of Dartmouth College, 01-RC-325633 (Feb. 5, 2024), available at
This update also does not discuss the new joint advisory group formed by the Big Ten Conference and Southeastern Conference to address the "significant challenges facing college athletics," including pending litigation, a patchwork of state laws, and complex governance proposals, as well as opportunities for betterment of the student-athlete experience. See the following for more information: Press Release, Big Ten Conference, Southeastern Conference Form Advisory Group (Feb. 2, 2024),

2. NCAA NIL Update: With a Semester of NIL Opportunities in the Books, Trends Emerge and Confusion Reigns, ROPES & GRAY LLP (March 1, 2022),

3. Division I Council Approves NIL Disclosure and Transparency Rules, NCAA (Jan. 10, 2024),

4. NCAA Advances Tighter NIL Rules, Awaits Final Approval, LAW360 (Jan. 10, 2024),

5. Division I Council Approves NIL Disclosure and Transparency Rules, NCAA (Jan. 10, 2024),

6. Division I Council Approves NIL Disclosure and Transparency Rules, NCAA (Jan. 10, 2024),

7. Division I Council Approves NIL Disclosure and Transparency Rules, NCAA (Jan. 10, 2024),

8 . Division I Council Approves NIL Disclosure and Transparency Rules, NCAA (Jan. 10, 2024),

9. Defined as "an individual, group of individuals or any other entity organized to support the athletics interest of an NCAA school or group of schools by compensating student-athletes for NIL activities on behalf of itself or another third party"; Division I Council Approves NIL Disclosure and Transparency Rules, NCAA (Jan. 10, 2024),

10. Division I Council Approves NIL Disclosure and Transparency Rules, NCAA (Jan. 10, 2024),

11. NIL Update: Key Takeaways from NCAA President Charlie Baker's Recent "Forward-Looking" Letter Proposing Changes to NCAA's NIL Policy, ROPES & GRAY LLP (Dec. 13, 2023),

12. NIL-Related Recruiting Violation Occurred in Florida State Football Program, NCAA (Jan. 11, 2024),; Negotiated Resolution, Florida State University – Case No. 020169, NCAA (Jan. 12, 2024),

13. This case was resolved through the NCAA's negotiated resolution process instead of a formal hearing because FSU, NCAA enforcement staff, and the assistant coach agreed on the violations and the penalties. "Negotiated resolutions may not be appealed and do not set case precedent for other infractions cases." NIL-Related Recruiting Violation Occurred in Florida State Football Program, NCAA (Jan. 11, 2024),

14. NIL-Related Recruiting Violation Occurred in Florida State Football Program, NCAA (Jan. 11, 2024),; Negotiated Resolution, Florida State University – Case No. 020169, NCAA (Jan. 12, 2024),

15. Negotiated Resolution, Florida State University – Case No. 020169, NCAA (Jan. 12, 2024),

16. Dan Murphy, NCAA penalizes FSU football; Assistant Gets 3-Game Ban for Violations, ESPN (Jan. 11, 2024),

17. Negotiated Resolution, University of Miami (Florida) – Case No. 020161, NCAA (Feb. 24, 2023),

18. Mark Long, Florida Is Under NCAA Investigation A Year After A Failed NIL Deal with QB Signee Jaden Rashada, AP (Jan. 19, 2024),; Mark Schlabach, NCAA Investigating Gators for Jaden Rashada Recruitment, ESPN (Jan. 19, 2024),

19. Michael S. Schmidt et al, NCAA Inquiry Takes On Growing Role of Booster Groups, N.Y. TIMES (Jan. 30, 2024),

20. Pat Forde, Sources: Tennessee Under Potential NCAA Investigation for NIL Violations in Multiple Sports, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (Jan. 30, 2024),

21. 2024 State of College Sports – NCAA President Charlie Baker, NCAA (Jan. 10, 2024),

22. Jesse Dougherty, A College QB Testified About NIL. He Says Congress Is Missing the Point., WASH. POST (Jan. 11, 2024),; Press Release, Gus Bilirakis, Representative, U.S. House of Representatives, Bilirakis, Dingell and Lujan Working to Develop Bipartisan, Bicameral Framework to Protect College Athletes and Preserve Collegiate Sports (Jan. 11, 2024),

23. HBCU Conferences Petition Congressional Black Caucus to Look into NIL, HBCU SPORTS (Sept. 25, 2023),; Kyle T. Mosley, HBCU Commissioners Challenge White House, Congress On Proposed NIL Legislation, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (Dec. 9, 2023),

24. NIL Update: Key Takeaways from NCAA President Charlie Baker's Recent "Forward-Looking" Letter Proposing Changes to NCAA's NIL Policy, ROPES & GRAY LLP (Dec. 13, 2023),

25. NIL Update: Key Takeaways from NCAA President Charlie Baker's Recent "Forward-Looking" Letter Proposing Changes to NCAA's NIL Policy, ROPES & GRAY LLP (Dec. 13, 2023),

26. 2024 State of College Sports – NCAA President Charlie Baker, NCAA (Jan. 10, 2024),

27. The lawsuits include the following: State of Tennessee et al. v. NCAA, no. 3:24-cv-33 (E.D. Tenn. Jan. 31, 2024); Ohio et al v. NCAA, no. 1:23-cv-100 (N.D.W. Va. Dec. 7, 2023); Carter et al v. NCAA et al, no. 4:23-cv-6325 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 7, 2023); Fontenot v. NCAA et al, no. 1:23-cv-03076 (D. Colo. Nov. 20, 2023); Hubbard et al v. NCAA et al, no. 4:23-cv-01593 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 4, 2023); In re College Athlete NIL Litigation, no. 4:20-cv-3919 (N.D. Cal. June 15, 2020); and Johnson v. NCAA, no. 2:19-cv-05230 (E.D. Pa. Nov. 6, 2019).

28. Justin Williams, Why is the NCAA proposing a new subdivision? Explaining the related legal battles, THE ATHLETIC (Jan. 3, 2024),

29. Mark Schlabach, Florida Legislator Says Bears DT Gervon Dexter's NIL Deal Violated Law, ESPN (Sept. 5, 2023),

30. Navigating the NCAA's New Guidance On Student-Athlete NIL Compensation, ROPES & GRAY LLP (Nov. 30, 2022),

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