NIL Knows No Boundaries

By : J.D. Hartung

NIL knows no boundaries . . . yet!

The NCAA’s “acceptance” of the reality that student-athletes must be allowed to make money from their own NIL (Name, Image and Likeness) has created a huge “gray area” when it comes to what is or is not permissible.

The NCAA’s initial “Interim NIL Policy” is clearly a punt – deferring to state laws which have been promulgated to define the rights and responsibilities of student-athletes when it comes to making money. It is apparent that the NCAA is hoping for uniform Federal Legislation to be passed – largely to eliminate the nightmare of policing fifty different state laws and the impact different rules in different states will have on “fair competition.”

Prior to NIL, the NCAA strictly limited income opportunities in order to preserve the “amateur status” of its student-athletes. However, this position has eroded quickly following the June 21, 2021 United States Supreme Court decision in NCAA v. Alston et. Al – which struck down NCAA rules limiting the education related benefits schools may make available to student-athletes.

In the wake of Alston, student-athletes can now earn money so long as payment is not:

  • Contingent upon enrollment at a particular institution
  • For athletic participation or achievement
  • For work not performed

Unless restricted by State Law – everything else appears to be fair game – for now. Without question, additional rules, regulations, interpretations and limits will soon follow. Otherwise, an unlimited “free market” system will undoubtedly destroy any sense of parity / fair competition that may currently remain in the NCAA.

Without boundaries – the rich will get richer and the NCAA (in its present form) will become obsolete. Until then, if you are a prospect, student athlete, coach or institution, the attorneys at Hartung Schroeder have experience with NCAA Compliance issues and we are available to assist you in navigating these uncharted waters.


J.D. is a co-founder and partner at the law firm of Hartung and Schroeder. He started the firm with friend and colleague, Brad Schroeder, after working in both boutique and large, multi-state firms. He saw first-hand that a small firm brings definite advantages to clients. Experienced in general litigation, he serves a wide range of clients including those seeking legal counsel for business, family law issues and personal injury. You can read more about him or get in touch here.