How does the name, image and likeness US Supreme Court ruling affect the NJCAA?

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette

When the Supreme Court ruled student-athletes could not be limited in benefits for their education, it opened up a pandora's box of ability for student-athletes to finally benefit from their name, image and their likeness.

For the NJCAA and how the ruling goes into effect doay, the ruling has put the organization on a path to approve policy, while trying to find the right fit for them so they don't jeopardize any eligibility for the student-athletes who want to pursue their respective sport at the next level.

It's like if the NJCAA was constructing a car as it's moving. 

What is NIL

NIL is an acronym for Name, Image and Likeness, which is the process by which college student-athletes are now able to receive some sort of financial compensation with the described above through promotional and marketing activities. This is not limited to signing autographs or being endorsed by a product and/or company.

There are already reports of college football quarterbacks ready to sign major endorsements when this goes live on July 1.

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How did NIL come about?

You know how we’re not allowed to have an NCAA football game because the NCAA will not let players be compensated through their NIL? That started in July 2009 when former UCLA basketball player, Ed O’Bannon, filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf a dozen former student-athletes who felt they were not fairly compensated due to their name and likeness in college sports video games. 

California passed the Fair to Play act allowing athletes to be paid for their promotional opportunities and other states followed suit despite the NCAA forbidding the payment of players.

Eventually companies like EA Sports in 2014 shelved collegiate sports video games due to their inability to pay the student-athletes.

The highest court in the land steps in

The Butler Grizzlies are considered a top tier football program in the NJCAA and often deal with Division I transfers whether it's coming or going. The NIL could be something they have to deal with in the future.

The NCAA sought Congress to make a federal law in regards to the NIL as not all states had statues on the book like California and the Supreme Court ultimately made the final decision.

On Monday, June 21, the Supreme Court up held a lower court decision by ruling against the NCAA’s antitrust case by which specifically challenged the association’s ability to put limits on benefits for student-athletes that are related to education. 

The ruling by the Supreme Court ends the NCAA’s nationwide limits on education-related benefits student-athletes can receive for playing sports.

The ruling will go into place on July 1 and the NCAA has put an interim policy into place for those states who do not have an NIL policy in place already. 

Who can pay the student-athletes and how much

The courts have been pretty blunt that payments cannot come from the schools themselves and have to come from outside of the universities and colleges, which is not limited to a technology, car or social media company. 

There limit does not exist on how much a student-athlete can make while being paid. A Zion Williamson at Duke could have signed a $100-million shoe contract with Nike while playing for the Blue Devils. While Fred VanVleet could have received $1000 for sponsoring Carlos O’Kelly’s in Wichita as a Shocker. 

Players can now charge for their signatures, with no limit the price.

One thing the ruling doesn’t do is allow student-athletes to receive a salary for participating in athletics. 

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How does this affect the NJCAA

It depends on who you ask, the answers will vary. When talking to Butler Community College's athletic director, Todd Carter, he doesn't think it's going to be anything the Grizzlies have to worry about.

"We watched the presentation today and I don't think it's gonna get down to our level," Carter said. "I'd be surprised."

Butler is the second largest community college by enrollment in the state of Kansas and one of the most successful football programs in the history of the NJCAA. They often have multiple Division I transfers coming to the school and going out. 

"The kids that are going to get paid at that level are probably aren't going to be a JUCO transfer," Carter said. "There's gonna be a big difference between that Trevor Lawrence getting kicked out and coming to Butler."

While CEO of the NJCAA, Dr. Christopher Parker agrees there won't be too much engagement at the NJCAA level, he just wants them to be prepared for anything. 

"We passed legislation last Wednesday to allow this," Parker said. "It's very similar to what the NCAA did.

"When we have so many student-athletes that transfer up and down, we need to make sure our eligibility status stays efficient for student-athletes coming up and coming back."

The NJCAA announced on Wednesday night guidelines to what student-athletes can and cannot do.

  • Under the bylaw, the following acts shall not cause a student-athlete to lose his or her amateur status in the NJCAA:
  • Participating in radio or television programs for the purpose of promoting an amateur athletic event.
  • Receiving compensation for supervision of physical education, playground, or recreational activities.
  • Receiving compensation for use of name, image, or likeness to promote any commercial product or enterprise, or public or media appearance so long as it does not conflict with the institutions existing partnerships, sponsorships, and agreements.
  • A member institution allowing a student-athlete to receive compensation in compliance with their state law.

 The following acts remain prohibited in the NJCAA:

  • Institutional employees or boosters making direct payment to athletes; and
  • Direct payments from the institution in exchange for athletic performance or as a recruiting inducement.

Parker also understands there will be some student-athletes, even at the NJCAA level, may try to dip their toes in the water and see what's out there. 

"You take a rural community, that there's not a college or university from miles away, but there is a community college, and they do have an athletic program," Parker said "That local student athlete may be a local celebrity chooses to stay there and are able to use the NIL to their advantage.

"It's just making sure that everybody understands the correct rules and policies that are in place."

Then there are the unanswered questions, like does this make it easier or harder for compliance departments? Those are the things that community colleges will only find out while they are moving through all of this.

Charles Chaney has been the Sports Editor for the Butler County Times-Gazette since Aug. 2019. You can reach him at or on Twitter at @ChuckChaneyBCTG.