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NCAA approves interim policy granting college athletes NIL rights

(Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

College athletes are now able to make money off their name, image and likeness (NIL).

The NCAA Division I Board of Directors’ interim policy went into effect on Thursday, ushering in a new era of collegiate athletics.

A wave of recently passed state NIL laws has put consistent pressure on the NCAA to act on the issue of athlete compensation, resulting in the July 1 guidelines. The NCAA has instructed any schools residing in states that have yet to pass legislation to implement their own rules and regulations based on the July 1 measure.

The new legislation reverses the long-held policy that college athletes must sign over the right to profit off their name, image and likeness upon signing with a school. Now, student-athletes will be able to pursue marketing deals and business ventures that use their image for promotion and profit.

The policy still prohibits pay for play, meaning schools are barred from paying athletes directly for signing with their program.

New NIL rules could prove especially lucrative for those participating in women’s sports. Data released by Axios following the 2021 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament showed that eight of the ten most followed basketball players appearing in the Elite Eight were women. In terms of capitalizing on NIL, online sponsored content may be one of the most profitable avenues for athletes.

Haley and Hanna Cavinder, sisters on the Fresno State women’s basketball team, have already announced a deal with Six Star Pro Nutrition. The sisters each have roughly 250,000 followers on Instagram.

Deals like the one the Cavinders signed are likely to continue to pour in, changing the face of college athletics overnight.