Proposed Bill to Allow Louisiana Universities to Facilitate NIL Deals
Louisiana Senate Bill 250, proposed by senator Patrick Connick, aims to amend Louisiana’s current Name, Image, and Likeness (“NIL”) statute, La. R.S. 17:3703, to now allow for schools to directly facilitate and help student-athletes enter into NIL deals. The current statute prevents universities from compensating or causing compensation to be directed to a current or prospective student-athlete for the use of their NIL. Senate Bill 250 removes this prohibition and would allow for universities to help student-athletes secure deals and directly connect student-athletes with third parties for NIL activities. While this change is a dramatic shift from the current statute which prevents universities from being involved, universities will never be allowed to directly pay a student-athlete for athletic participation, as pay for play is strictly prohibited by the NCAA. In proposing this change, Louisiana is following in line with other states such as Florida which has proposed a similar amendment, and Alabama has completely repealed their NIL bill.
The proposed amendment also removes language prohibiting a university from using an athletic booster, and the booster themselves, from “directly or indirectly” creating or facilitating NIL opportunities for student-athletes as a recruiting inducement or as a means for paying for athletic participation. While this change seems to create more opportunities for boosters and be less restrictive as to what boosters can and can’t do in relation to NIL activities, it does nothing of the sort because boosters have been, and always will be, prohibited from paying student-athletes for NIL opportunities as a recruiting inducement to attend a university or for pay for athletic participation, as both are strictly a violation of the NCAA rules.
Senate Bill 250 can potentially create issues for universities who are seeking to provide student-athletes with assistance navigating NIL matters because universities must do so while also complying with all NCAA rules that are still in effect, such as the strict prohibition on pay for play and using NIL deals as a recruiting tool for potential student-athletes.
In addition, the NCAA recently announced that the Division I Council will be reviewing the institution's NIL policies due to concerns with potential recruiting violations, booster involvement, and schools being involved in and potentially arranging deals for incoming players. The NCAA has asked for a preliminary report from the Division I Council by April, with a final report and recommendations for possible action by June.
The implementation of Senate Bill 250 will potentially create many issues for universities and student-athletes to navigate in the ever-changing NIL world. The attorneys at BSW have closely monitored the progress of NIL in Louisiana and are able to help assist with any matters relating to NIL, including contracting, advising, consulting, and any other questions you may have.
See link to the full text of Senate Bill 250: https://www.legis.la.gov/legis/ViewDocument.aspx?d=1255811