Earlier this year, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed a law that repeals the name, image and likeness (NIL) law that took effect in July 2021. That law, like others around the country, came out of a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court against the National College Athletic Association (NCAA).
The high court ruled that the NCAA was violating anti-trust laws by prohibiting college athletes from being compensated for their name, image and likeness when other individuals and entities were making money off of them.
After the ruling, the NCAA issued its own interim rule that allowed NIL deals but prohibits direct payments to student athletes. The NCAA has instructed athletes to follow their own state’s laws if they have them. If not, they’re to follow the NCAA’s rule.
So why is Alabama’s NIL law being repealed, and why do both the University of Alabama (UA) and Auburn University support the repeal?
The more restrictive state law hampered recruiting efforts
According to the Alabama lawmaker who sponsored the legislation, the state law was more restrictive than the NCAA rule, which went into place shortly after Alabama’s law did. That was also the case with other states that passed their own NIL laws prior to the NCAA’s rule. That rule places even fewer restrictions on student athlete’s freedom to make deals for themselves than some of the state laws.
That means that schools in states that don’t have their own NIL laws and follow the NCAA rule are at an advantage when recruiting athletes. It’s no surprise, then, that UA and Auburn advocated for the repeal. Addressing the repeal, both universities emphasized that they support their athletes having more “opportunities for success.” The Auburn statement also noted, “The landscape with regard to NIL is constantly changing.”
That certainly can’t be denied. These changes regarding NIL use have opened up a new world for college athletes to benefit from their hard work, talent and popularity. However, it’s easy to be taken advantage of when making deals with those who have far more experience in this arena. Having experienced legal guidance is crucial to making the most of these new opportunities.