The NCAA has proposed a new rule to its NIL format that would allow for Division I schools to directly enter deals with its athletes.
The rule change was brought up by NCAA President Charlie Baker, who notified member schools via letter. In addition to making those direct deals, schools would be able to essentially establish a trust fund for athletes and allow the schools to make their own rules when it comes to recruiting athletes, acquiring transfers, roster sizes, and a handful of other policies.
Baker also proposed that by adopting this new rule, the NCAA will assist in gender equity, as it will demand schools to use their trust fund equally. Schools in the top earning category (which has not yet been defined) could have at least to $30,000 to play with. The potential schools in the top earning category, Baker estimates will be more impacted by the transfer portal, NIL and collectives. These schools can create their own rules based on their unique situations to better police the system. This is because Baker has said that he believes those higher-earning institutions operate differently than the rest of the schools at the Division I level.
“[This proposal] kick-starts a long-overdue conversation among the membership that focuses on the differences that exist between schools, conferences and divisions and how to create more permissive and flexible rules across the NCAA that put student-athletes first,” Baker said, according to ESPN. “Colleges and universities need to be more flexible, and the NCAA needs to be more flexible, too.”
Baker believes that these rule changes will be able to provide Congress with something concrete so laws can be made to prevent making athletes employees of the school and prevent antitrust lawsuits.
The stakeholders will meet in January at their annual convention, and hopefully talk about Baker’s proposition. Still, there is no official timeframe for when these rule changes could go into effect. It seems this might be a positive move in the right direction to ensure athletes get paid and the deals are more direct.