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Clemson Compliance Education for businesses

Revised 7.2021

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 are the NCAA rules changing?

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 all 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. Please do not ask Clemson coaches or staff members to provide you with 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 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. NCAA rules regarding pay-for-play, extra benefits, and impermissible recruiting inducements are still in effect. A student-athlete must provide some type of value (e.g., permission for business to advertise on social media using NIL) for the non-cash compensation. For example, a student-athlete may not be provided with a free meal at a restaurant just because they are a Clemson student-athlete.

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: No. At this time, student-athletes (or the company/business involved in the promotion) cannot use Clemson University’s protected logos, trademarks, or phrases without proper licensing. Content created by the University (e.g., game photos or video) also cannot be used.

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.

When dealing with NCAA rules and student-athlete eligibility, is recommended all businesses contact Compliance Services ( to review any questions related to NIL activities prior to the activity.