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Clemson Compliance Education for businesses

Revised 10.2021

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: 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: 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 arranging for the promotion, a student-athlete may be paid to promote your business. Student-athletes are required to disclose all NIL activities to Compliance Services through COMPASS before they occur.

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 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 student-athlete wear an orange or purple shirt without Clemson marks when engaging in NIL activities?

A: Yes.

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 COMPASS. 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.