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Cracks forming in NCAA's efforts to hone NIL policy

Almost a week into the NCAA's "crackdown on NIL policy, cracks are already appearing in the association's initiative," as the NIL space becomes "increasingly liberalized," according to Dennis Dodd of CBSSPORTS.com. Missouri is poised to become the latest state to "expand NIL opportunities beyond the NCAA rulebook," with a proposed bill that "would allow any athletic department official -- including coaches -- to assist with NIL deals." Tennessee late last month introduced a bill that "allows interaction between collectives, coaches and athletes." Existing laws in Louisiana and Illinois are "undergoing amendment conversions that would allow booster involvement." This pattern "mirrors how states used their legislative power to spread NIL rights in their states." Dodd wrote the NCAA was "way late to realize it couldn't play whack-a-mole trying to contest the laws state by state." The association "technically prohibits coaches and schools from brokering NIL deals for athletes," but it was "quick to state last July that athletes are allowed to 'engage in NIL activity that is protected by state law.'" To stop these deals, the enforcement division "would have to find violations," but there has been "no meaningful move in that direction since NIL debuted 10.5 months ago." Relaxation of NIL barriers is becoming "as competitive as recruiting itself" (CBSSPORTS.com, 5/16).

MANAGE YOUR OWN BUSINESS: Former U.S. Secretary of Education and current Knight Commission co-Chair Arne Duncan when asked about the role of Congress in NIL said that he "doesn't know of one industry, corporation or nonprofit anywhere that says, 'Let's turn it over to Congress.'" He added, "Everyone would prefer to regulate themselves. Congress only steps in when they see dysfunction, when they see a lack of leadership. ... It's absolutely in the NCAA's interest to not just sit around and wait for Congress to maybe do something, not do something, and Congress can never understand these issues as well as folks engaged in them actually do" (ESPN.com, 5/16).

GREAT ROI: In DC, Liz Clarke notes Univ. of Miami booster John Ruiz insists that the work the athletes do in exchange for their compensation, which generally consists of "filming commercials or promoting the brands on social media," has "generated a significant return for his companies." But Ruiz also believes that the "still-evolving NIL landscape is riddled with unfairness, putting universities in states with restrictive rules at a competitive disadvantage to those in states with no rules while leaving students and their families vulnerable to exploitation." Ruiz has "seized this new commercial opportunity with unrivaled zeal." He insists that he is "doing so in full compliance with NCAA rules -- namely, that he is not using NIL deals to coax recruits or transfers, nor is he simply handing out cash without requiring athletes to perform a specific job or service in exchange." While the transfer decisions of Kansas State G Nijel Pack and Fresno State women's basketball players Hanna and Haley Cavinder to Miami have drawn considerable attention, Ruiz said that "90 percent of his NIL deals are with enrolled students," and that "all deals require work in return" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/17).

BACK TO BASICS: In Columbus, Rob Oller writes NIL "needs to stick to the original plan, in which individuals get paid for services rendered, not collectively just for being on the team." Oller: "I also would prohibit NIL payments until a recruit is enrolled and attending classes" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 5/17).

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