July 1 marked the first official day that student athletes could follow the new Name, Image, & Likeness (NIL) guidelines under the NCAA which allowed them to profit off their name, image and likeness and sign endorsement deals, in accordance with Michigan law and NCAA regulations.
Michigan associate athletic director Kurt Svoboda sent out an email to the media detailing Michigan’s guidelines for handling NIL. The email detailed what activities student athletes could monetize their name, image and likeness including: traditional commercials or advertisements for products or services, student-athletes developing and promoting their own business, personal appearances, sponsored social media posts and autograph sessions.
The email also specified that “There are no limits on the amount of income a student-athlete may earn through name, image and likeness activities provided any compensation is for work actually performed.”
Under a section of the email titled ‘Role of the University’ it states that, “The University of Michigan supports student-athletes receiving compensation for the use of their name, image and likeness from sources outside the University consistent with the requirements of the future Michigan state law and limited guidance provided by the NCAA.”
However, the University says they are not responsible for providing NIL opportunities for student athletes.
In December 2020, the Michigan state legislature passed House Bill 5217 which allows student athletes in Michigan to earn sponsorships. On June 21, the Supreme Court decision in NCAA v. Alston, who ruled the NCAA could not impose compensation related restrictions to student athletes, cleared the way for NIL rules to be enacted.
The debate on whether to pay student athletes has been going on for years but only recently has momentum shifted in the student athletes favor. In September 2019, California passed the “Fair Pay to Play” act, becoming the first state to pass legislation that allowed student athletes to sign endorsements.
The email states in a section titled ‘Disclosure and Review’ that, “From July 1, 2021 until July 15, 2021, student-athletes must disclose any name, image and likeness activities as soon as practicable. Beginning July 16, 2021 and going forward, consistent with Michigan House Bill 5217, student-athletes must disclose any name, image and likeness activities at least seven (7) calendar days prior to entering into an agreement for the proposed activity.”
It’s a new era in college athletics and Michigan athletes, like many across the country, will now be able to benefit.