NCAA Council unlikely to recommend name, image, likeness rules as states’ laws set to go into effect

The NCAA Council is not likely to recommend passage of formal name, image and likeness legislation this week at its upcoming meeting, sources told CBS Sports. This inaction would come just days after NCAA president Mark Emmert urged membership to pass such legislation by July 1 as pressure mounts nationally with NIL laws in six individual states going into effect on that date.

It will therefore be unlikely that the NCAA will have NIL legislation in place to regulate its schools in six weeks. Those states’ NIL laws will allow players to receive unprecedented benefits by granting them the ability to market themselves.

The introduction of NIL rights is considered one of the biggest regulatory changes in the NCAA’s 116-year history.

The NCAA Council meets Wednesday. Any recommendation by the group responsible for the day-to-day decision making for Division I athletics would have to be approved by the NCAA Board of Governors. That board is next scheduled to meet in June.

With or without NIL legislation from the NCAA, some form of chaos is expected on July 1.

The laws passed those six states — Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, New Mexico, Tennessee — are similar to each other but far more lenient than anything the NCAA is considering. In order to conduct business without enforcement chaos, the NCAA may have to issue a blanket waiver to cover athletes in those states who would ostensibly be violating existing NCAA bylaws.

“There will be something that happens on July 1, and there will be no lives lost,” said a person intimately involved in the direction of NIL legislation. “This will be going on for a long time.”

NIL legislation has been a standing agenda item for the NCAA Council since January when the group decided to delay action. In December 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice raised questions in a letter to the NCAA detailing antitrust implications of the legislation. At the time, NIL rules had been expected to pass at the NCAA Convention in January.

The NCAA Division I Name, Image and Likeness Legislative Solutions Group took no action during a Friday phone call. It could have recommended passage of NIL, but it acts only as an advisory group.

“We can’t enact anything. All we can do is make recommendations to the council,” said solutions group co-chairman Bob Bowlsby, commissioner of the Big 12. “We haven’t recommended anything. We gave our recommendations back in January. None of that has been changed.”

The NCAA can enact emergency legislation, but that doesn’t seem to be a likely move in this case. It continues to wait for help from Congress as it looks to implement its version of NIL. That is becoming less likely as Congress will break for the semester on July 30, just over two months from now.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision in an appeal of the NCAA v. Alston case that will at least impact the association’s ability to maintain its decades-old control of amateurism. While that June decision doesn’t directly deal with NIL, there are some who may wish to delay action until after the Supreme Court rules.

“It will no doubt take years to refine whether or not there is Congressional action or preemption [over the states] or antitrust or whether there is reconciliation among states and the NCAA,” that legislative source told CBS Sports. “There is an inclination to place a lot of emphasis on July 1. I’m not sure it’s that big a deal.”

During a Thursday conference call with reporters, ACC commissioner Jim Phillips had the same viewpoint.

“I’m not optimistic we’re going to get something done by July 1, but that’s not going to be catastrophic,” he said. “We’ll be OK. We’ll figure out a temporary kind of bridge until we get national legislation.”

The voting power of the 40-person NCAA Council is weighted toward the Power Five conferences. 

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