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How the NCAA's name, image and likeness ruling impacts college sports

OSU Research Matters is a look inside the work of Oklahoma State University faculty, staff and students.

In this episode, Dr. Kenneth Sewell — the school's Vice President of Research — talks with Dr. John Holden about how the NCAA's name, image and likeness (NIL) ruling impacts college sports.


HOLDEN: In June 2021, we saw two parallel tracks bring about probably the most substantial change to college sports that we've seen in at least the last 50 years. The first change came about through a Supreme Court decision called Alston v. the NCAA, and the Alston decision effectively said that colleges can no longer cap the amount of money that athletes receive that's associated with academics. The second big change came about with regards to NIL or name, image, and likeness rights. In much of the rest of the world, we refer to this as publicity rights, and this is the idea that if someone uses your picture, you get paid for that. And now for the first time in the NCAA's history, student athletes are able to capitalize on their name, image and likeness and endorse products and make money off their own images.

SEWELL: What do you see as the implications of these developments in terms of how it's pushing our concept of amateurism in sport?

HOLDEN: You know, it's really bringing about a lot of change in terms of what the future of college sports will be. I think one of the things that we're going to see is we're going to see two systems. We're going to see a system where schools like Oklahoma State exists, where there is a lot of money around the athletic department and there will be opportunities for athletes there to make money. And we're also going to see a change where lower level schools, which we might think of now as Division II or Division III, probably aren't competing in the same environment and perhaps sort of shift off from the power five schools, which seek more of a self-governance role.

SEWELL: What are your biggest concerns regarding OSU athletes?

HOLDEN: The concern is that an athlete signs a deal that may have future consequences for them, signs a deal where they don't get paid. One of the things that we're doing here at OSU is sort of increasing the resources that student athletes and other students have access to. So in Spears [School of Business], we've created two separate programs. One is a program that anyone can take for credit, designed around various aspects of NIL. And we provide education on the legal side. There's a marketing class, there's a personal finance class. And then there's an operation side as well, which teaches best practices. On the other hand, we're also running outreach programs to athletic departments talking about best practices in this area, so that schools are able to provide an environment where athletes have the best protection and best opportunity to take advantage of these new opportunities.

SEWELL: I'm Vice President for Research Kenneth Sewell, and this is OSU Research Matters.

Dr. Sewell and Dr. Holden will be speaking more in depth on name, image and likeness at 'Research On Tap' — Monday, December 20th at Iron Monk Brewery in Stillwater. The informal discussion is open to the public and starts at 5:30 p.m. More information can be found at research.okstate.edu/rot.

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