Compliance & Regulation » NIL Compliance Challenges for the NCAA

NIL Compliance Challenges for the NCAA

NIL Compliance Challenges for the NCAA

July 3, 2024

NIL Compliance Challenges for the NCAA

According to an article by the Bricker Graydon firm, a new lawsuit, Rashada v. Hathcock et al. highlights several NIL compliance challenges for the NCAA. NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) refers to a set of rules that allow college and high school athletes to profit from their name, image, or likeness for commercial purposes.

In the case, Rashada v. Hathcock et al, Jaden Rashada, a former football recruit for the University of Florida (UF), filed a lawsuit alleging breach of promise regarding an NIL deal offered during his recruitment. The lawsuit targets UF’s Head Football Coach, Billy Napier, and others, claiming they enticed Rashada with a $13.85 million NIL agreement to secure his commitment to UF over another university. However, Rashada asserts that after committing, he received only a fraction of the promised amount before eventually transferring.

At the time of Rashada’s recruitment in the fall of 2022, NCAA rules prohibited using NIL agreements as recruiting inducements and restricted collectives from engaging in NIL discussions with prospective athletes. The lawsuit alleges that UF personnel violated these rules by using the NIL offer to sway Rashada’s decision, potentially implicating the university in NCAA violations.

While a recent injunction has halted NCAA enforcement of NIL-recruiting rules, the article notes that compliance offices face heightened scrutiny in monitoring and educating staff on NIL compliance challenges. NCAA Bylaw 11.1.1.1 holds head coaches accountable for program violations, stressing the need for proactive compliance measures like educational sessions, clear communication, and robust monitoring systems.

The lawsuit raises concerns about personal liability and employment repercussions for coaches like Napier, although no coach has been fired solely for NIL violations. However, precedents exist for dismissal due to NCAA infractions, leaving Napier’s future uncertain pending legal proceedings.

Ultimately, Rashada’s case highlights the evolving NIL regulatory landscape and the legal and institutional risks of non-compliance. As universities navigate these complexities, proactive compliance efforts are crucial to mitigate risks and uphold NCAA standards amidst shifting legal frameworks and court rulings.

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