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How College Is Changing under the New Athletics Rules

The Supreme Court has held that college athletes must be allowed to use their names, images, and likenesses (NIL) to earn money. The NIL decision set off a frenzy of activity, and, in today’s Martin Center article, Harrington Shaw looks at the consequences.

He writes, “When the NCAA was forced to dramatically shift its stance on athletes’ compensation, state officials, university systems, and individual colleges hastily assembled NIL guidelines for their respective athletic programs. Discrepancies between institutions’ NIL policies, uncertainty about NCAA enforcement of regulations, and shifting incentives for college athletes have turned the college sports world into a Wild West.”

Different governmental bodies and individual institutions are trying to come up with rules to comply with the Court’s decision. Can a player make use of the school’s emblems, for instance? Some allow it, some don’t. Perhaps there will be further litigation over such details.

Clearly, some student-athletes are going to cash in big time as a result of the NIL ruling, but how will that affect college sports and education? Shaw writes, “While amateurism has been a vanishing element of college athletics for some time, opening the Pandora’s box of NIL compensation was perhaps the final nail in its coffin. With aspiring athletes’ valuations of prospective colleges now at least partially tied to each program’s NIL potential, schools will be seen less as educational institutions and more as means to the end of endorsements and social media followers.”

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