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NCAA Athletic Directors Weigh In on Student-Athlete NIL

In a recent survey from the Associated Press, NCAA Division I athletic directors are concerned about complying with Title IX rules if schools were to compensate student-athletes in the biggest money-making sports.

In fact, 94 percent of responding ADs agreed it would be somewhat or much more difficult to comply with Title IX rules. AP asked 357 ADs a series of online questions shortly before the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments began. Ninety-nine athletic directors participated in the survey.

nilAdditionally, more than 70% said of respondents said certain sports would lose funding or be cut altogether if their school offered extra non-scholarship payments to students.

According to the AP report, one AD wrote in the survey: “Sharing revenue with student-athletes is not feasible. That only works if universities are then absolved of Title IX requirements. Football revenue supports women’s golf, women’s tennis, women’s softball, women’s volleyball, women’s soccer, women’s track and field on this campus.”

“It’s not good enough to just say, ‘Let’s change.’ We have to contemplate the impacts of the change. What’s on the other side of the looking glass,” Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey, whose league’s ADs did not participate in the survey, told the AP. “And I am concerned — highly concerned — about the impact on all student-athletes.”

For decades the NCAA operated under an amateur foundation but has recently discussed the notion of letting players sign individual sponsorship deals to profit off their names, images, and likeness (NIL). As some state laws already on the books that would permit players to cash in on their NIL, Congress is considering no fewer than four bills that would establish NIL rights and/or call for schools to share revenues with athletes, the AP reported.

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“I do fully understand the concerns that the ADs raised in your survey, and I’m not the least bit surprised,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said to the AP. “One of the things that we’re working with Congress on, and as we shape our own rules, is for folks to understand that while there is a common belief that all universities make very large amounts of money off of college sports, the reality is quite different from that. And when there are other calls on those funds, that limits the ability of schools to be able to support all their teams, and that’s something I worry a great deal about.”

“If that happens,” Florida State AD David Coburn wrote to the AP, “[NIL contracts with individual athletes] IS going to impact not just other men’s sports, but it will certainly impact women’s sports and the ability of universities to impact equity.”

“What little revenue 95% of institutions realize through revenue sports goes toward supporting other sports,” one AD wrote as part of the AP survey. “Paying those 5% of students will devastate the other teams that rely on that revenue to survive.”

To read the full story from the AP and to see more responses from athletic directors, click here