The Division II Legislation Committee on Tuesday recommended several legislative proposals for the division that would permit student-athletes to benefit from their name, image and likeness.

The proposals will be reviewed by the Division II Management Council and Presidents Council at their next meetings on July 20-21 and Aug. 5, respectively. The Presidents Council will make the final decision on which legislative proposals advance to the 2021 NCAA Convention, where they will be decided via Division II’s one-institution, one-vote legislative process. Any of these legislative proposals passed at the Convention would take effect Aug. 1, 2021.

“The proposals put forward follow the NCAA Board of Governors’ guiding principles established last October and align with the board’s direction in April to consider appropriate rules changes based on recommendations from its Federal and State Legislation Working Group,” said Scott Larson, chair of the Legislation Committee and athletics director at Lubbock Christian, who was also a member of the Federal and State Legislation Working Group. “Namely, these concepts have been developed with the understanding that they can take place consistent with the collegiate model.”

The process of developing these recommendations included vast membership review and input. A survey taken by more than 1,000 representatives of member institutions and conferences, including student-athletes, helped the Legislation Committee form these proposals. Student-athlete voices also were prioritized throughout the process, with two additional national Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee members joining the Legislation Committee during its name, image and likeness discussions. The vice chair of the national SAAC already serves on the committee by virtue of that position.

“It is truly a pleasure and a privilege to be part of a division that prioritizes so highly the voices and opinions of student-athletes. Throughout the development of this legislation, the voice of the Division II SAAC and of student-athletes across the country has been not only heard but requested,” said Mackenzie O’Neill, a women’s soccer player for Missouri Western, vice chair of the Division II SAAC and a member of the Legislation Committee. “My peers and I who have been at these meetings have had the incredible opportunity to learn and to help develop legislative recommendations that would open opportunities for and prioritize the health and well-being of our student-athletes. I am excited to see how we will continue to excel and grow in Division II through these discussions about name, image and likeness.”

The Legislation Committee’s recommendations cover 10 concepts, outlined below:

• Student-athlete work product: Permit student-athletes to use their name, image and likeness to promote their own athletically related work product. Examples would include athletics apparel, athletics equipment or writing a book about the impact of athletics on their life. Current legislation permits student-athletes to use their name, image and likeness to promote nonathletically related work products (e.g., music, novels), provided there’s no reference made to their involvement in intercollegiate athletics.

• Endorsement of third-party product or service: Permit student-athletes to promote athletically or nonathletically related products or services, subject to institutional policies. Student-athletes also could include their athletics status and ability in any such promotions. Currently, student-athletes are restricted from using their name, image or likeness to promote a commercial product if they make any references to their student-athlete status.

• Modeling noninstitutional athletics apparel: Permit student-athletes to model noninstitutional athletics apparel and equipment. Current legislation allows student-athletes to model nonathletically related apparel.

• Monetized media platforms unrelated to athletics: Permit student-athletes to establish a monetized media platform (for example, on YouTube, Instagram) unrelated to athletics. This would allow student-athletes to receive compensation for promotion of commercial products through that media platform. Current legislation restricts student-athletes from using their name, image or likeness to promote a commercial product if any references are made to their involvement in intercollegiate athletics.

• Autographs: Permit student-athletes to be paid for autographs while not representing their institution. Student-athletes would be allowed to be compensated for autographs either in conjunction with an endorsement opportunity or independent of their institution. Currently, student-athletes are not permitted to be paid for their autographs in any circumstance.

• Appearances: Permit student-athletes to be paid for appearances at commercial businesses and charitable, educational or nonprofit agencies, subject to institutional policies. Student-athletes could include their athletics status and ability in any such promotions. Current legislation restricts student-athletes from using their name, image or likeness to promote a commercial product or service, including receiving payment to appear at a commercial business.

• Sale of merchandise/memorabilia: Permit student-athletes to sell athletics apparel, used equipment and awards provided by the institution at any time in their career. Institutions would be responsible for educating student-athletes on which apparel items are expected to be retained for institutional events such as team travel and promotional activities. Currently, student-athletes are prohibited from selling these items before exhausting their eligibility.

• Crowdfunding for extreme circumstances: Permit student-athletes, their families and friends to organize fundraisers for student-athletes or their family members in extreme circumstances beyond the control of the student-athlete. The Legislation Committee emphasized that it does not believe this should include education-related items of need (e.g., tuition, laptop) due to concerns about the impact on existing financial aid limits, potential for improper recruiting inducements and other challenges related to avoiding pay-for-play situations. Current legislation allows for institutions to organize fundraisers for student-athletes or their family members in similar extreme circumstances. This proposal maintains those same opportunities while removing the requirement that the institution oversee such fundraisers.

• Fees for private lessons: Permit student-athletes to promote their availability for private lessons. If institutional facilities are used, student-athletes would have to follow all applicable institutional processes for renting facility space in a manner consistent with that used by the general public. Currently, student-athletes are permitted to receive compensation for teaching private lessons, but they are not allowed to promote the availability of such lessons to the general public.

• Fees for camps/clinics: Permit student-athletes to operate their own camps and clinics. If institutional facilities are used, student-athletes would have to follow all applicable institutional processes for renting facility space in a manner consistent with that used by the general public. Currently, student-athletes are prohibited from conducting their own camps and clinics.  

• Allowing commercial businesses to promote student-athlete attendance at institutional fundraisers: Permit a commercial business to advertise the presence of student-athletes at the establishment for an institutional fundraiser. Institutions, conferences or a noninstitutional charitable, nonprofit or government agency currently can use a student-athlete’s name, image or likeness for promotional activities. When that institutional fundraiser takes place at a commercial establishment, however, that establishment is currently not permitted to advertise the presence of student-athletes.

• Licensing of student-athlete’s name, image and likeness, unrelated to work product: Allow student-athletes to license their name, image and likeness for commercial products unrelated to their work product. For example, if a student-athlete becomes well known by a nickname, this proposal would allow that student-athlete to license that nickname on commercial products sold by a third party. Current legislation restricts student-athletes from using their name, image or likeness to promote a commercial product or service.

Additionally, in line with the Board of Governors’ principles that any legislative changes be transparent and enforceable, the Legislation Committee recommended the following administrative framework for the concepts above:

• Institutions would be permitted to counsel student-athletes in name, image and likeness activities but not arrange such opportunities. Permissible assistance would include providing education on applicable NCAA rules, helping a student-athlete evaluate any compliance concerns with a particular opportunity, assisting with reporting expectations, and offering resource materials to help the student-athlete evaluate and select professional service providers. An institution would be permitted, but not required, to establish a name, image and likeness counseling panel similar to the currently permissible professional sports counseling panel. Business activities that are developed as a result of a student-athlete’s coursework would be exempt from the restrictions on institutional involvement.

• Student-athletes would have to obtain approval to use institutional marks for any commercial purposes.

• Student-athletes would be precluded from using their name, image or likeness to promote products or services not permitted by NCAA legislation, including sports wagering companies and banned substances.

• Student-athletes could not miss class to participate in activities related to use of their name, image and likeness.

• Institutions would have the flexibility to determine how to appropriately educate their student-athletes, boosters and other constituent groups on name, image and likeness rules.

• Reporting of name, image and likeness activities would be done on an annual basis. The committee recommends that a template form be created, but institutions would be permitted to establish their own forms based on institutional needs and applicable state laws. Institutions could choose to require reporting on a more frequent basis. The committee expressed support for exploration of a potential third-party administrator to oversee reporting to reduce the burden on Division II athletics departments.

• Prospective student-athletes would be able to retain professional services for name, image and likeness activities, as well as professional athletics opportunities, if any agreement related to professional sports opportunities is terminated upon enrollment at a Division II institution. Institutional employees would not be permitted to serve in a professional service role for a prospective student-athlete. The committee encouraged use of the NCAA Eligibility Center portal to educate prospective student-athletes on applicable legislation related to name, image and likeness.

• Current student-athletes would be allowed to have access to professional services needed for name, image and likeness activities but would be prohibited from hiring an agent for the purpose of a professional athletics opportunity. These service providers would be prohibited from providing anything that would constitute an extra benefit.