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 institutional employees in understanding the limitations on their involvement with 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, 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: 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 University employees compensate student-athletes for use of their NIL?
A: No. 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: Does this rule apply only to Athletic Department employees?
A: No. State of South Carolina law applies to any university officer, director, or employee, including Professors (tenure and adjunct), University staff (both full and part-time), as well as student workers who receive benefits from the institution (e.g. financial aid, team travel, apparel, etc.) including undergraduate and graduate managers and athletic trainers.
Q: If a University employee has a pre-existing relationship with a Clemson student-athlete (started before their enrollment at Clemson), can the employee support their NIL activities?
A: No. Although a pre-existing relationship may allow you to provide specific benefits to a Clemson student-athlete within NCAA rules, state law does not permit you to compensate the student-athlete for NIL activities. If you believe you have a pre-existing relationship with a Clemson student-athlete, please contact Compliance Services (CUACS@clemson.edu).
Q: Can a University employee be a consumer of a student-athlete’s work product or service (i.e. t-shirts with student-athlete’s name, artwork created by student-athletes, children attending a student-athletes camp/clinic, etc.)?
A: Yes. A University employee can consume a student-athlete’s product or service in the same manner as an individual from the general public.
When dealing with NCAA rules and student-athlete eligibility, there are many caveats and exceptions. It is recommended you contact Compliance Services (CUACS@clemson.edu) to review any questions.