Name, Image and Likeness (NIL)

Name, Image and Likeness has Passed for the NAIA!

In September 2019, the state of California passed the Fair Pay to Play Act, which will allow college athletes to earn money and endorsement deals from third parties based on their Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) beginning in 2023. Similar legislation is being considered in other states, many with effective dates in 2020 and 2021.

Top 5 reasons why the NAIA moved to pass NIL:

There is value in doing the right thing at the right time. We need to provide student-athletes the same opportunities as other students to help pay for their education. 

Passing NIL Legislation is not a quick-fix; it's a process that will likely need to be modified as we move forward. The sooner we begin this process, the sooner we can find the appropriate balance between achieving competitive balance and supporting our student-athletes.

The NAIA is in a unique position to lead by being the first collegiate athletics association to enact NIL-supportive legislation. This is an ideal opportunity to demonstrate that the NAIA is the association that prioritizes student-athletes.

California and other states have already passed NIL legislation, effective 2023. Other states are considering similar legislation, effective in 2020 and 2021. By implementing thoughtful change now, we lessen the likelihood of having to rush to accommodate NIL once it's legally required. 

NAIA student-athletes can already receive financial assistance from family, friends, and institutional donors/boosters. NIL would further this opportunity by allowing them to utilize their collegiate athlete status to get paid to promote an event or goods, (e.g. pitching lessons from the star college pitcher, social media influencer referencing his or her school athletics items).

Did you know the NAIA has been committed to this legislation for over a year?

The NAIA’s National Coordinating Committee and the Association for Student-Athletes have been reviewing the topic of NIL rights since March 2019. Their analysis has been based on the principle that student-athletes should have the same opportunities that already exist for other students with specific talents to help pay for their education.


Support for NIL

The NAIA was pleased with our membership's overwhelming support of the 2020 NIL legislative proposal. NIL is a complex topic that will require flexibility and patience while navigating this process. There was no easy solution. However, NAIA leaders recognize that doing what was right for our student-athletes outweighed any potential issues and taking no action now would likely force some NAIA schools to choose between compliance with state laws and NAIA rules.