PRESS RELEASE – MAY 12, 2020
For immediate release
For more information:
Dr. B. David Ridpath, Ed.D.
The Drake Group
TDG Responds to Future NCAA and Federal NIL Legislation
Position statement offers criticism of NCAA Board of Governors guidelines
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Drake Group shared six critical observations in response to the NCAA Board of Governors’ actions regarding college athletes commercializing the use of their own names, images, and likenesses (NILs).
Rather than proposing substantial legislative changes, the NCAA Board of Governors’ actions were offered as guidelines for future legislation to be developed by the three NCAA divisions and the U.S. Congress. Among its proposals, the Board of Governors called for federal legislation that would give the NCAA a blanket antitrust exemption for all NIL rules it adopts. The NCAA rules would also preempt state NIL legislation passed, pending or planned in 37 states to date.
“We believe the guidelines are a good start to the long-awaited reforms to the NCAA’s antiquated and onerous amateur status restrictions on nonschool-related employment of college athletes,” TDG President B. David Ridpath said. “However, there are a number of proposals advanced for consideration that deserve outright rejection or raise questions that need to be addressed. The purpose of the attached position statement is to publicly document several significant concerns.”
After reading the Working Group’s final report, The Drake Group offers the following six critical observations about the future NCAA and federal NIL legislation:
- Congress, rather than the NCAA, should adopt legislation establishing a college athlete’s independent right to monetize his or her own NILs, enter into athlete group licensing arrangements, and engage in employment outside the educational institution.
- Congress should not grant the NCAA any unconditional antitrust exemption to enable its control of college athlete NIL or outside employment. Rather, Congress should establish an independent College Athlete NIL Commission to set and enforce appropriate standards for NIL payments to college athletes. Congress should confer on the Commission a limited and conditional antitrust exemption to do so.
- The NCAA’s multiple positions on group licensing are both self-serving and misleading.
- The NCAA’s professed NIL concerns related to gender equity are not credible.
- The idea that Congress might prohibit athletes to sign with sneaker and apparel companies, thereby protecting the commercial sponsorship interests of its member institutions, reveals the NCAA’s current status as a trade association whose commercial interests outweigh the educational and health and safety interests, and the economic freedoms, of college athletes.
- The NCAA must fully prioritize its basic governance responsibilities over its members’ commercial interests and must facilitate outside employment opportunities for college athletes instead of obstructing them.
To read The Drake Group’s full position statement to the April 29 NCAA Board of Directors announcement, click here.
Media and other NIL queries may be directed to Drake sports economics expert Andrew Zimbalist,