By: Robin Gentry
The NCAA Board of Governors has not been idle while we await the restart of college athletics following the COVID-19 suspension of play. In late April, the Board announced that it would support rule changes to allow student athletes to make endorsement deals to take effect at the start of the 2021-22 academic year.
The Board noted specific “growth opportunities” for student athletes which include social media influencer opportunities and digital content creation, including videos, live stream of video games and podcasts. If the rules change based on the Board’s recommendations, student athletes would be allowed to make deals as social media influencers, appear in commercials and hold paid autograph sessions. The Board also recommended certain limitations, such as a prohibition against using school logos and referencing the student’s team/school affiliation.
Social media deals, commercials, blogs and other activities that student athletes may soon be able to monetize all raise intellectual property issues, including copyright and possibly the need to trademark the student’s logo. Plus, any endorsement deals should be memorialized in a written contract to ensure that the student athlete is protected.
As we look forward to cheering on our favorite college teams again, we will be watching to see if the NCAA adopts new rules.