By: Attorney Brianna Meyer
Historically, the NCAA has prohibited college student-athletes from accepting money in return for endorsements to ensure athletic programs were not “pay for play.” Until recently, the only way student athletes could legally receive compensation was through scholarships. Many believed that this was unfair to student-athletes, since universities could make a great deal of money from TV broadcasts and licensing deals, and even though these earnings would not be possible without students’ participation, the rewards received by many students were very limited. However, this has changed in recent years as multiple states have passed laws allowing students to earn money through licensing rights for their name, image, and likeness (NIL). In response to these laws, the NCAA created a new policy in 2021 allowing student-athletes to engage in these types of endorsements. For those who are considering earning money or other compensation with their NIL, it is important to work with an attorney who can provide representation for college student athletes and ensure that their rights and interests will be protected.
NIL Licensing for Student-Athletes in Wisconsin
Under the NCAA’s new policy, college athletes can benefit from the use of their NIL, and they can use professional services providers such as agents, accountants, marketing companies, or attorneys. Any NIL activities must be consistent with the laws of the state where the college is located and the activities should be reported to their school.
Since different states have enacted different laws that address NIL licensing and endorsements, the NCAA has stated that its policy is an interim policy that may be updated if a federal law is passed to address this issue. For states without a NIL law, students are allowed to receive money in return for these types of endorsements. Currently, Wisconsin has not passed a NIL law. However, universities may put policies in place to address this issue. For example, the University of Wisconsin has created a policy stating that students can earn compensation for the use of their name, image, and likeness when they are not engaging in official team activities, and compensation must be based on a fair market value.
With these new rules, students may have many opportunities to earn an income while attending college and participating in athletic activities, including:
Endorsements for products and services, including the use of a person’s name and picture in advertisements or appearances in TV commercials
Promoting products or companies on social media
Making personal appearances at a store or other business
Licensing an athlete’s likeness as a character or avatar in a video game
Selling autographed photos or sports memorabilia
Participating in sports camps, programs, or online classes, including acting as a trainer or mentor for young athletes
Creating personalized videos for fans
Owning, operating, or working for a business that sells a personal clothing line or music or artwork created by an athlete
Contact Our Milwaukee College Student NIL Licensing Attorneys
If you are a college student who plans to earn money through your name, image, and likeness, you will want to make sure you are being fairly compensated. At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, we can help you understand your rights in these types of licensing deals, and we will help you negotiate contracts that will protect your interests while advising you on the best ways you can benefit from these agreements. Contact our Milwaukee, WI student athlete representation lawyers today by calling 414-271-1440.