What will NCAA NIL policy impact be on Ivy League and its athletes?

The NCAA on July 1 enacted an interim policy allowing college athletes to be compensated for their name, image and likeness (NIL) for the first time with the following guidance:

  • Individuals can engage in NIL activities that are consistent with the law of the state where the school is located. Colleges and universities may be a resource for state law questions.
  • College athletes who attend a school in a state without an NIL law can engage in this type of activity without violating NCAA rules related to name, image and likeness.
  • Individuals can use a professional services provider for NIL activities.
  • Student-athletes should report NIL activities consistent with state law or school and conference requirements to their school.

The Ivy League has noted that it has adjusted rules to allow athletes to engage in NIL activity.

But what will the impact of the NCAA’s new NIL policy be on Ivy hoops athletes and the Ivy League itself? Ivy Hoops Online writers weigh in:

Richard Kent:

It hit like a tsunami on July 1. But it really was not a surprise to those in the know. 

So what impact does or will NIL have on the Ivy League?
Penn has partnered with SPRY, a third-party technical solution developed to enable users to navigate and comply with the NIL landscape more easily.
New Brown and former Penn athletic director Grace Calhoun said that she thinks that the policy “really champions the holistic development of student-athletes,” per the Brown Daily Herald.
Good news or bad news for Ivy athletes lacking the benefit of athletic scholarships?
Well, it’s a mixed bag.
NIL permits Ivy athletes to compete on a level playing field with athletes from other conferences but imperils Ivy athletes who benefit from financial aid and Pell grants. In other words, an Ivy athlete must weigh the impact of receiving endorsement money on their aid package and also factor in the tax consequences of such potential income.
There are obviously many wealthy Ivy grads who can arrange for marketing opportunities and endorsement deals for athletes from their alma maters. Just think about Yale College and Yale Law School grad Joe Tsai, cofounder executive vice chairman of Alibaba and a huge Yale lacrosse donor and supporter. The opportunities would appear to be endless throughout the Ivy member institutions.
A recent informal poll of some Ivy coaches on the men’s side indicates that not much work has been done to date on their campuses regarding the topic, and research indicates that no Ivy athlete has yet to sign an endorsement deal.
One topic being debated nationally is how, if at all, NIL interacts with Title IX. Will there be some mandate of endorsement deals between male and female athletes?
How will this all play out in the Ancient Eight? Only time will tell.

Erica Denhoff:

A new era of intercollegiate athletics is upon us and I am thrilled that the Ivy League has adjusted their rules to allow student-athletes to engage in NIL activity. As a former Penn (Class of 2008) track and field varsity letter winner, I’ve thought about what profiting off NIL could have looked like for athletes during my time and what it could look like today.  My initial reaction was “How will student-athletes have the time to take advantage of these opportunities?”

Until I started to think of it like a part-time job.

I had a part-time job as a work-study student in Penn’s Athletic Communications office. One of my colleagues who worked in the office with me twice a week was an All-Ivy League performer and captain of the men’s basketball team. More outstanding Penn athletes worked in other Penn Athletics offices. They carved time out of their busy schedules to hold a part-time job and earn a paycheck. Perhaps Ivy athletes today will swap office work with paychecks earned from their NIL.

I don’t think Ivy basketball players will have the same NIL opportunities as players at the national powerhouses. But I wouldn’t rule out that some of the Ivy hoops stars will be able to profit on their memorabilia sales. When I was a child attending Brown games, I would have loved buying a player’s sports memorabilia souvenir or jersey just as much as I would have from the Pawtucket Red Sox (Boston Red Sox AAA) souvenir shop. I look forward to Ivy athletes capitalizing on their talents.

Rob Browne: 

I am glad that student-athletes will now have the opportunity to earn money off of their name, image and likeness, instead of their schools.  For athletes without athletic scholarships, like those in the Ancient Eight, this opportunity means they and their families can start to recoup some of the high costs of attending these prestigious universities (which can range up to $300,000-plus in some cases).

I wonder if this economic change will inspire enterprising and social media-savvy high school athletes who may have balked at the high cost of Ivy League degrees to give the conference a chance.  Adding this new dynamic to the conference’s pre-COVID-19 graduate transfer standard, a young adult can cut the cost of their Ivy undergraduate degree and follow it with a scholarship (and continue to earn money) to a high-major program for one to two years.

On the negative side, I worry about athletes getting involved with professional service providers.  While I’m sure most will be legitimate parties, I wouldn’t be surprised if some will be unethical and find creative ways to exploit these students.

I am also concerned that this new dynamic will drive a wedge between athletes and non-athletes on campus.  Many non-athletes already view athletes as getting more academic, campus and internship perks.  Giving these athletes a chance to earn money and increase their brand on top of those other advantages may worsen the division between the two groups and increase the lack of student attendance at sporting events.