Name, Image, and Likeness has made a huge impact on the college sports landscape. It is a topic that has yet to be fully understood by those involved. Ohio State announced some important changes in its approach to NIL.
Below is the university release on those changes.
Ohio State Updates its NIL Guidelines; Creates NIL Edge Team
Virtually all of Ohio State’s varsity sports will have designated staff to work with NIL requests
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State student-athletes have enjoyed this first six months of monetizing and profiting off their own Name, Image and Likeness, or NIL. A total of 220 student-athletes have engaged in 608 reported NIL activities with a total compensation value of $2.98 million. All three figures rank No. 1 nationally, according to Opendorse, the cutting edge services company hired by Ohio State to help its student-athletes with education and resource opportunities to maximize their NIL earning potential.
The NIL landscape continues to evolve, and Ohio State is evolving as well. This week Ohio State student-athletes will learn of a strategic new resource – the NIL Edge Team – developed by the Department of Athletics that will help create and foster best-in-class NIL opportunities for them.
“We are updating our NIL guidelines to allow for the creation of the Edge Team to assist in connecting and coordinating NIL activities for our student-athletes,” Carey Hoyt, Ohio State senior associate athletics director and primary administrator for Ohio State’s NIL programs, said.
“Our guidelines were initially created to be restrictive, but now that we have a better understanding of NIL, it’s clear that we can provide more assistance in connecting student-athletes with interested brands. By allowing some OSU staff to interact with the brands and to educate and answer questions, we can eliminate hesitancy from brands, and donors, who were concerned about breaking rules.”
The Edge Team is an internal advisory group whose members can assist student-athletes with access and resources to successfully pursue NIL opportunities. The Edge Team may work with companies and brands to assist in the NIL process, and it will also have the flexibility to monitor and adapt to changing guidelines and legislation.
The Department of Athletics was focused primarily on protective education and personal brand management during the initial six months of NIL. The ever-changing landscape, including the emergence of donor-led collectives, has created the need to have a dedicated internal team that can directly assist student-athletes as they continue to monitor the NIL landscape.
In addition to creation of the Edge Team, the new Ohio State guidelines will designate operations directors – not coaches – from virtually all of Ohio State’s 36 varsity sports who will be educated and tasked as NIL point-of-contacts for their sports. The operations directors will be able to assist with facilitating a connection for an NIL activity while also educating outside entities on NIL best practices at Ohio State.
“We have watched national trends and we are learning from the emerging NIL collectives,” Hoyt said. “Every state and every institution has its own set of NIL rules or guidelines. Updating our NIL guidelines at this time is what we needed to do to stay competitive in this ultra-competitive landscape.”
The attached document features a Q&A on NIL Collectives.
NIL COLLECTIVE Q&A
WHAT IS NIL?
NIL refers to the rights of student athletes to monetize and profit from their personal brand, which consists of their Name, Image, and Likeness. Before 2021, NCAA rules prohibited student athletes from earning anything beyond what their scholarships provided. Now, student athletes may enter into a wide variety of deals that allow them to receive compensation based on the value of their personal brand. Buckeyes must still abide by NCAA rules and Ohio’s NIL law, which is set forth in Chapter 3376 of the Ohio Revised Code.
WHAT IS A NIL COLLECTIVE?
NIL Collectives are legal entities formed by fans and supporters of college sports. NIL Collectives may take a variety of legal forms – some have been established as tax-exempt, nonprofit corporations and others have been established as limited liability companies or for-profit corporations. The collectives are separate and independent from the colleges they’re formed to support, so the legal structure and operation of each collective is at the discretion of the collective’s founders.
NIL Collectives have a shared mission of helping student athletes navigate potential NIL deals, but each collective will have a different method for accomplishing this. Some may connect companies with athletes, some may enter into NIL deals directly with athletes themselves. NIL Collectives that are formed as charitable entities may offer educational training to student athletes, or engage athletes to perform services in furtherance of the charity’s charitable purposes.
HOW CAN A NIL COLLECTIVE SUPPORT OHIO STATE’S STUDENT ATHLETES?
NIL Collectives can enter into NIL deals directly with student athletes, or assist student athletes in making connections with companies who wish to engage them for NIL deals. NIL Collectives may also make donations to Ohio State in order to support scholarships for student athletes.
WHAT RULES APPLY TO NIL COLLECTIVES AND STUDENT ATHLETES WHO WORK WITH NIL COLLECTIVES?
NIL Collectives are subject to all corporate and tax rules that apply to any other legal entity of their type. For instance, if a collective is formed as a tax-exempt, nonprofit corporation, it is subject to all the state and federal laws that apply to all nonprofits, including the requirement that the collective be organized and operated for charitable, educational or scientific purposes.
Student athletes working with NIL Collectives must abide by all university policies, NCAA rules, and state and federal laws that are applicable to all NIL deals. For instance, all NCAA eligibility rules and state and federal tax laws.
Ohio State’s Department of Athletics is happy to help answer any questions related to NCAA compliance or university policies.
CAN COACHES AND STAFF BE INVOLVED IN A NIL COLLECTIVE?
Designated Ohio State staff can help coordinate between the collective and student athletes, but coaches and staff cannot be founders, members, officers, directors or employees of a NIL Collective that is formed for the benefit of Ohio State student athletes.