With an increasing number of state laws defying NCAA rules and with the association's efforts to secure a federal NIL bill looking increasingly fruitless, movement is underway to devise a backup plan.
The NCAA's NIL subcommittee has been tasked with exploring a Plan B in case Congress does not act by passing a federal bill. The NCAA Division I Council received updates on the work of the subcommittee on June 27 and 28 at NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis, a source with direct knowledge of the meetings told On3 last week.
The purpose of the meetings – attended both days by first-year NCAA President Charlie Baker – extended beyond merely discussing NIL-specific guidance. Rather, the source said, the purpose was to develop details around an NIL-specific proposal in case Congress doesn't act to pass a federal NIL bill.
The source stressed the meetings do not reflect a pivot in strategy by the NCAA. The NCAA continues to aggressively lobby Congress for a federal bill while the subcommittee explores potential backup plans.
A larger meeting, featuring a broader swath of stakeholders, is expected to occur later this summer in Indianapolis to solicit additional feedback on a potential draft of an NIL-specific proposal.
That could be in the form of a draft of a federal bill to present to Congress or new overall NIL-specific guidelines. Specific elements that will be included in a potential NIL proposal remain unclear.
An important note: Pros and cons of a potential revenue-sharing model were not addressed. Nor was a potential employee model. The conversation remained narrowly focused on NIL.
Mit Winter, a college sports attorney at Kennyhertz Perry, said, "Any current discussion by the NCAA about a new NIL proposal that doesn't also include discussion on revenue sharing and a potential employment model is once again failing to plan."
The subcommittee's drafting of a potential NIL proposal comes amid an intensifying clash between states and NCAA guidelines. Texas, Oklahoma
and Arkansas passed school-friendly laws in conflict with NCAA rules.
In response, the NCAA issued
a memo stating schools must still adhere to NCAA legislation. Undeterred, last Thursday Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed
into law amended legislation, preventing the NCAA from even opening investigations into NIL activity by in-state schools.
"The NCAA has been saying, until just recently, follow your state law if you have one," Jim Cavale, CEO and founder of INFLCR, said. "Now all of a sudden they're changing their tune. They still haven't set any rules. People are acting like this memo is a set of bylaws. It's not. It's just suggestions and recommendations. And it's the new tune, because before they would say, 'Hey, we want you to listen to the states.' Now they are saying, 'Hey, don't listen to your state.'"
With its NIL subcommittee drafting a new proposal, the next chess move belongs to the NCAA. – Eric Prisbell