The NCAA recently changed its rules to permit student-athletes to monetize their name, image, and likeness (NIL), including their ability to promote commercial businesses. The following FAQ has been developed to assist IPTAY members in understanding the considerations prior to compensating a Clemson student-athlete for NIL activities. NCAA rules restricting preferential treatment, extra benefits, recruiting inducements and contact restrictions still apply to boosters.
Q: How do I know if I am considered Booster?
A: The NCAA defines a booster as any individual, independent agency, corporate entity (e.g. apparel or equipment manufacturer) or other organization who: Has participated in or is a member of an agency or organization promoting the institution’s athletic program, Has made a financial contribution to the athletic department or IPTAY, Has assisted or is currently assisting in providing benefits to an enrolled student-athlete or their family members, or Has been involved in otherwise promoting the institution’s athletic program.
Q: What is name, image, and likeness (NIL) and how have the NCAA rules changed?
A: NIL refers to a student-athlete authorizing a person or entity to use their name, image or likeness and, in return, receiving compensation. Previously, the NCAA prohibited student-athletes from earning compensation in this manner (ex. A student-athlete couldn’t appear in local car dealership commercial). As of July 1, 2021, the NCAA permits a student-athlete to earn compensation (money, goods or services) in exchange for participating in NIL activities.
Q: What are NIL activities?
A: NIL activities may include, but are not limited to: social media endorsements, commercials, appearances, autograph signings, and other similar activities in which a business, brand, product or service is promoted.
Q: What is an extra benefit?
A: The term “extra benefit” refers to any special arrangement by an institutional employee or booster to provide the student-athlete or his or her family members or friends with a benefit not expressly authorized by NCAA legislation. This includes but is not limited to meals, entertainment (e.g. boat rides), transportation (e.g. flights, use of car) and loans.
Q: Can a Clemson coach or staff member provide me a student-athlete’s contact information for NIL purposes?
A: No. South Carolina State Law prohibits University employees from compensating or facilitating compensation to a student-athlete, a prospective student-athlete, or their family members for NIL activities. While it is permissible for a booster to compensate a student-athlete for NIL activities, University employees may not be involved in arranging NIL activities. Individuals interested in contacting student-athletes for NIL deals must do so directly. (Student-Athlete NIL Directory)
Q: What if a University employee is also an IPTAY member? Can University employees compensate student-athletes for use of their NIL?
A: No. University employee status supersedes IPTAY member status. So, an institutional employee may not personally compensate student-athletes for use of their NIL nor may they create or facilitate compensation opportunities for the use of a student-athlete’s NIL.
Q: Can a booster provide NIL compensation to a high school recruit so they will attend Clemson?
A: No. Any compensation provided as a recruiting inducement to attend Clemson remains impermissible.
Q: Can I arrange for a student-athlete to promote a business I own or work at?
A: Yes, as long as a University staff member is not involved in arranging for the promotion, it is permissible for a booster to contract with a student-athlete for NIL activities. Student-athletes are required to disclose all NIL activities to Compliance Services through COMPASS before they occur. A student-athlete may request the use of Clemson University registered marks by using the NIL Intellectual Property Request Form (PDF).
Q: Can a booster provide a student-athlete with non-cash compensation (free meal, discount, etc.) for a permissible NIL activity?
A: Yes, in-kind compensation is permissible, provided the student-athlete has completed the promotion and disclosed the agreement to the University. It remains impermissible to provide payment of any kind to a student-athlete for work not performed.
Q: Can a booster pay a student-athlete to attend their child’s birthday party and sign autographs?
A: Yes, appearances and autograph sessions are permissible NIL activities, provided the student-athlete has disclosed the activity to the University. Additionally, the student-athlete would not be able to wear any Clemson issued apparel or items with Clemson marks (e.g. Clemson uniform, polo with the Tiger Paw). A student-athlete may request the use of Clemson University registered marks by using the NIL Intellectual Property Request Form (PDF).
Q: Can a booster provide a student-athlete entertainment (i.e. a day at the lake, meals, etc.) unrelated to NIL activities?
A: No, providing entertainment unrelated to NIL would be considered an extra benefit and would negatively impact the student-athlete’s eligibility.
Q: Are there prohibited categories for NIL activities?
A: Yes. A student-athlete may not earn compensation for the use of their NIL for the endorsement of tobacco, alcohol, illegal substances or activities, banned athletic substances and gambling, including but not limited to sports betting.
Q: Can a student-athlete use university branded attire or material during promotional events (e.g., student-athlete filming endorsement ad while wearing Clemson hat)?
A: Student-athlete and businesses interested in using Clemson’s intellectual property (co-branding), such as logos, marks, etc., must submit the request in writing via the NIL Intellectual Property Request Form (PDF), at least 72 hours in advance of the activity, and must receive written approval. The deal must also be recorded in COMPASS.
Q: Can a booster compensate a student-athlete for an autograph in the lobby of the team hotel at an away game?
A: No. Student-athletes cannot participate in NIL activities during official team activities.
Q: Can a booster purchase a game-worn jersey from a student-athlete?
A: No. Student-athletes may not sell or exchange for another item of value institutionally issued apparel, equipment, awards, etc. (even if it will not be re-used) until they have exhausted their eligibility.
Q: Does the institution need to be notified of the NIL opportunity?
A: Yes. Student-athletes are required to disclose all NIL compensation to the University through COMPASS.
Q: Do I need to disclose NIL activity?
A: South Carolina Law states that you must disclose, in writing, to the student athlete any prior or existing association, either formally or informally, with any institution of higher learning or any prior or existing financial involvement with respect to athletics. When dealing with NCAA rules and student-athlete eligibility, it is recommended all boosters contact Compliance Services (CUACS@clemson.edu) to review questions related to NIL activities prior to the activity.