Clemson Compliance Education for Businesses
The NCAA recently changed its rules to permit student-athletes to monetize their name, image, and likeness (“NIL”), including to promote commercial businesses. The following FAQ has been developed to assist businesses in understanding the limitations on their involvement in a student-athlete’s NIL activities.
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, receives 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 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: Can University employees provide a student-athlete’s contact information for NIL purposes?
A: Yes. South Carolina suspended its state law prohibiting University employees from providing a student-athlete’s contact information for NIL purposes.
Q: Can a student-athlete be compensated to promote or endorse a business?
A: Yes, as long as a University staff member is not involved in the development/creation, execution, or implementation of the activity, a student-athlete may be paid to promote your business.
Q: Can a business 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 business provide a student-athlete with non-cash compensation (free meal, discount, etc.) without performing an NIL activity?
A: No. There must be quid pro quo in all NIL deals. The prospect or student-athlete must use their name, image, or likeness in some way to earn the payment or benefit or else it would be considered by the NCAA to be an impermissible extra benefit impacting 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 reuest in writing via the NIL Intellectual Property Request Form (PDF), at least 72 hours in advance of the activity, and must receive written approval.
Q: Can a student-athlete wear an orange or purple shirt without Clemson marks when engaging in NIL activities?
Q: Can a business purchase a game worn jersey from a student-athlete to display at their location?
A: No. Per NCAA rules, 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 INFLCR.
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.