NAIA Passes Student-Athlete Name, Image, and Likeness Legislation

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The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is the first collegiate sports organization to pursue name, image, and likeness legislation. The association runs small athletic programs all over the country, supporting 27 national championships for over 77,000 college athletes.

The new rule permits NAIA college athletes to get paid to promote products, companies, or media appearances. Despite a similar NCAA legislation that is supposed to be approved in 2021, the NAIA went a step further and is likely to proceed by permitting student-athletes to reference their school-related athletic involvement in promotions and appearances.

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NAIA president Jim Carr said it was a milestone for the association to present more student-athlete opportunities.

The legislation was already passed in California, Colorado, Florida, and Nebraska, allowing college athletes to earn from their name, image, and likeness. California, Colorado, and Nebraska’s legislation will start to take effect in January 2023, while Florida’s rule will begin in July 2021.

Also, there have been efforts to raise the same concern at the federal level. Members of Congress from Ohio and Missouri have initiated a bipartisan bill in the House of Representatives concerning a student-athlete’s name, image, and likeness. The bill will permit student-athletes to accept endorsement contracts and representatives to assist in soliciting and negotiating endorsements. The school and the NCAA may intervene and forbid tobacco, marijuana, and alcohol endorsements and wearables with sponsor logos in athletic competition and school-sponsored events. Once passed, the bill will pre-empt all state regulations on the matter.

Currently, the NAIA is trying to ensure the member schools comply with their respective passed state regulations. The NAIA is aware that there are still uncertainties related to new NIL rules on its impact on the teams or institutions financially. Nevertheless, their main objective is to steer the NAIA’s rules to best benefit both the athletes and their schools.

Read the NAIA’s Press Release here and a related report from Forbes.