D1 Board Adopts Student-Athlete Benefit Legislation, Bill For NIL Regulation Afoot

Although it’s the offseason in the NCAA, things are happening behind the scenes as the landscape of college sports continues to adjust to the new name, image and likeness (NIL) concept that first came into effect just over a year ago.

On Wednesday, the Division I Board of Directors adopted the first group of Transformation Committee recommendations aimed at allowing schools to provide more benefits to student-athletes without having to ask for waivers.

This includes things such as providing support for a student-athlete’s personal health, safety and well-being; paying for items to support a student’s academic pursuits; purchasing insurance of various types (including loss-of-value and critical injury); and funding participation in elite-level training, tryouts and competition.

However, the Board took no action on any potential changes to transfer rules, which were discussed last month and could result in the “one time” part of the transfer rule being removed.

Board Chair and Georgia President Jere Morehead said that transfer-related concepts will be discussed at the end of the month, as they want to look further into the impact NIL has on the process.

“Many of us have concerns about the impact name, image and likeness is having on the transfer process, and we want further analysis on that issue and its potential impact on graduation rates before taking action,” Morehead said.

Transformation Committee Co-Chairs Julie Cromer, the Ohio State Athletics Director, and Greg Sankey, the SEC Commissioner, responded to the recommendations, saying they would look at adjusting the proposal to address the Board’s concerns.

“The Transformation Committee heard the helpful feedback of the Board of Directors and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee on the broader transfer proposal,” Cromer and Sankey said in a statement.

“Based on that dialogue, we will work to refine our proposal to address how transfer policies align with ongoing academic eligibility and degree progress requirements and deal with current and emerging issues facing college athletics.”

There is also a new bill for NIL regulation in the works, with U.S. Senator and former NCAA football coach Tommy Tuberville leading the charge.

“There’s got to me some rules,” said Tuberville. “Right now, everybody is doing something different. There’s a lot of money being paid. But this is not about the money.

“I’ve always been for the student-athletes making money. But this is about giving everybody the opportunity on the college level, no matter what university, to feel like you’ve got an opportunity to compete.”

Tuberville and fellow Senator Joe Manchin are set to send a letter to stakeholders within college sports, which says that Congress “must act to set clear” NIL ground rules as a way to protect athletes, according to Sports Illustrated.

“We are rapidly accelerating down a path that leads away from the traditional values associated with scholastic athletic competition,” the letter reads, according to SI.