Day 1 Recap of NCAA Convention 2024 – Special to Sports Law Expert
By Kasey Nielsen and Joel Nielsen, of Bricker Graydon
What a start! Nearly every first day of the NCAA convention brings a certain flare to it, and this year was no different. Here are our key takeaways:
New Division I NIL Rules to “Protect” Student-Athletes
Division I approved rules that are intended to protect student-athletes and provide greater transparency. The NCAA announced its commitment to (1) establishing a voluntary registration process for NIL service providers (agents, financial advisors, etc.), (2) working with schools to provide template NIL contracts and recommended contract language, and (3) providing comprehensive NIL education. Our take is that there is certainly room for this type of assistance from the NCAA, though many schools are well down the road already with an NIL compliance structure and model contract language will need to be vetted through applicable state laws.
Student-athletes are now also going to be required to disclose to their school any NIL deals that exceed $600. It’s not entirely clear how this is designed to protect student-athletes, particularly those attending public institutions. Nevertheless, schools are also required to notify the NCAA, which will be creating a “deidentified database” of those deals. Privacy concerns abound and no word on what enforcement would look like here if there was a failure to disclose.
These rules are effective August 1, 2024.
Division I also proposed rules around institutional involvement and recruiting activities, including defining an NIL entity (collective) and expressly prohibiting contact between NIL entities and prospects (recruits). Schools would also have more freedom communicating with NIL entities regarding current student-athletes. These rules could be adopted as early as April 2024.
New Division I Enforcement Rules to Hold Schools, Coaches, Staff Members Accountable
In addition to the NIL rules, Division I approved new rules that will likely impact the infractions process. Under the new rules, coaches and staff members, rather than the student-athletes, will see an increase in penalties and (theoretically) accountability for violations of the NCAA bylaws. For example, naming individuals responsible for certain wrongdoing, a public-facing database of serious NCAA infractions, and longer suspensions for coaches.
These rules are effective immediately
Arguably the most eyepopping is the proposal to increase institutional fines from the existing $5,000 to $25,000 or even $50,000, plus an increased percentage of an involved program’s budget (up to 10%, on top of the base fine for the most severe cases) in Level I or Level II infractions cases. This rule could be adopted and effective as early as June 2024.
All Divisions – Updated Mental Health Best Practices
The NCAA updated its Mental Health Best Practices document, which all Division I, II, and III members are required to follow. Division I members also have to attest in November 2025 that they are following this document. The document will be available in the next few weeks and has information on the intersection between mental health and a variety of topics like sports betting, social media and NIL.