Changes to New York’s name, image, and likeness (NIL) law redefines “student-athlete” and limits the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) authority. The changes under NY Bill No. A07107B are effective immediately.
Updates to NIL Law
The definition of “student-athlete” has been expanded to include an individual who has completed at least their sophomore year of high school or inter-national equivalent and is eligible, or may in the future be eligible, to attend a college and participate in intercollegiate athletics. Previously, the law covered only a student enrolled at a college and participating in intercollegiate athletics.
Along with expanding the scope of who is covered in NIL, the new law prohibits an athletic association, conference, or other group or organization with authority over intercollegiate athletics, including, but not limited to, the NCAA, from:
- Preventing colleges from identifying, facilitating, enabling, or supporting opportunities for a student-athlete to earn compensation for the student-athlete’s name, image, or likeness;
- Entertaining a complaint, opening an investigation, or taking any other adverse action against a college for engaging in any activity related to a student-athlete’s NIL;
- Restricting a college from participation in intercollegiate athletics because a student-athlete has or intends to earn NIL compensation; or
- Penalizing a college from participation in intercollegiate athletics because an individual or entity whose purpose includes supporting or benefitting the college or its athletic programs or student-athletes violates the collegiate athletic association’s rules or regulations with regard to a student-athlete’s NIL.
Comparison to Proposed Federal Legislation
The New York law contradicts proposed federal NIL legislation (seeDraft Bill on Name, Image, and Likeness: Uniform Standard Contract, Medical Trust, NCAA Authority). The state’s NIL law is at odds with the federal bill as it limits the extent of NCAA authority to oversee the NIL process.
To bring nationwide uniformity to NIL laws, Senators Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) proposed federal legislation that, among other things, would grant the NCAA authority in overseeing compliance with NIL and proposed NIL contracts. The federal proposal states that any violation would be considered a violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act.
New York’s NIL law is just one of many state laws popping up around the country trying to create parameters for student-athletes, the NCAA, and governing bodies, as well as any contracting businesses seeking to utilize NIL. Many of these laws, including New York, are in a standoff with the NCAA regarding its authority over NIL. Federal legislation may address this conflict in the future. For now, states will continue to establish their own rules for NIL contracts. Colleges and universities should monitor both state and federal legislation as the NIL environment continues to evolve.
The Jackson Lewis Collegiate and Professional Sports Industry group is well-versed in NCAA issues and continues to analyze ongoing developments in the area. Please contact a Jackson Lewis attorney with any questions regarding NCAA and any other collegiate and professional sports developments.