The NCAA did proposed a new rule to its NIL format that will allow Division I schools to directly enter into agreements with its athletes.
The rule change was brought up by NCAA President Charlie Baker, who notified member schools by letter. In addition to making those direct deals, schools would essentially be able to establish a trust fund for athletes and allow the schools to make their own rules when it comes to recruiting athletes, acquiring transfers, roster sizes and a handful of other policies .
Baker also suggested that by adopting this new rule, the NCAA would help with gender equity, as it would require schools to use their trust fund equally. Schools in the top earning category (which has not yet been defined) can have at least $30,000 to play with. According to Baker, the potential schools in the top earning category will be more affected by the transfer portal, NIL and collectives. These schools can create their own rules based on their unique situations to better police the system. That’s because Baker said he believes those higher-earning institutions operate differently than the rest of the schools at the Division I level.
“[This proposal] kicks off a long-awaited conversation among the membership that focuses on the differences that exist between schools, conferences and divisions and how to create more permissive and flexible rules across the NCAA that put student-athletes first,” Baker said , according to ESPN. “Colleges and universities need to be more flexible, and the NCAA needs to be more flexible as well.”
Baker believes these rule changes will provide Congress with something concrete to pass laws to prevent athletes from becoming school employees and prevent antitrust lawsuits.
The stakeholders will meet at their annual convention in January and hopefully discuss Baker’s proposal. Still, there’s no official time frame for when these rule changes might take effect. It seems that this could be a positive step in the right direction to ensure that athletes are paid and the transactions are more direct.