NCAA Issues New NIL Guidelines; Clarifies Rule on Boosters Contacting Recruits

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 9, 2022

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 03: A NCAA logo is seen after the South Carolina Gamecocks defeated the UConn Huskies during the championship game of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament at Target Center on April 3, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

As the NCAA attempts to navigate the new era of name, image and likeness opportunities for student-athletes, the Division I Board of Directors released guidelines Monday regarding booster-led collectives.

Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated reported the primary purpose of the new guidelines is "clarifying existing bylaws that prohibit boosters from being involved in recruiting."

Ross Dellenger @RossDellenger

Here is the actual NIL guidance sent to schools and obtained by <a href="https://twitter.com/SInow?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@SInow</a> <a href="https://t.co/fQhV8WCnbG">https://t.co/fQhV8WCnbG</a> <a href="https://t.co/n7lAtwFy1c">pic.twitter.com/n7lAtwFy1c</a>

Dan Murphy of ESPN noted a group of athletic directors and conference commissioners formulated the guidelines "amid growing concern that some boosters and NIL-focused companies, known as collectives, are offering money as incentives to attend a particular school."

While the guidelines can be retroactive and open schools up to punishments for any actions during the past year as recruiting adapted to the NIL era, that doesn't mean there will suddenly be a long list of notable programs facing sanctions.

Chris Vannini of The Athletic suggested this is more about setting up enforcement for the future since "anything before today likely won't be pursued unless it's really blatant."

University of Georgia President Jere Morehead, who is the board chair, echoed that sentiment.

"While the NCAA may pursue the most outrageous violations that were clearly contrary to the interim policy adopted last summer, our focus is on the future," Morehead said, per Murphy. "The new guidance establishes a common set of expectations for the Division I institutions moving forward, and the board expects all Division I institutions to follow our recruiting rules and operate within these reasonable expectations."

While schools could face sanctions if a booster-led collective was previously involved in recruiting, Dellenger reported the NCAA has not exactly been jumping at the chance to enforce the bylaws because of staffing shortages and concerns about potential antitrust lawsuits.

"If they punish the kids, they will have lawyers lining up," sports attorney Gregg Clifton said. "There will be a class-action lawsuit within 48 hours."

With that in mind, any potential sanctions are expected to be directed at schools and programs rather than player eligibility.