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NCAA Aims to Limit Booster Role in Funding for Athletes

May 11, 2022
 
 

The National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division I Board of Directors issued guidance Monday that aims to limit the role that boosters affiliated with sports programs can play in programs that compensate players for use of their name, image and likeness.

The NCAA has been forced by court decisions to allow athletes to profit from marketing of their likenesses, which conflicted with its long-standing efforts to limit the compensation of athletes to things that protect their “amateur” status. But as numerous institutions have embraced such policies, many of them appear to involve boosters—alumni and other supporters of the sports programs who have often provided money to woo players, and whose influence the NCAA has long sought to constrain.

The lack of NCAA guidance has created a situation some have compared to the Wild West.

In issuing the new guidance, the NCAA declared that "collectives" that have cropped up to funnel name, image and likeness compensation to athletes in a certain athletics program could be considered to be "boosters" that have historically been banned from helping recruit athletes to a university or providing benefits to enrolled athletes or their family members.

"The Division I Board of Directors took a significant first step to address some of the challenges and improper behaviors that exist in the name, image and likeness environment that may violate our long-established recruiting rules," Jere Morehead, president of the University of Georgia and chair of the NCAA board, said in a statement. "While the NCAA may pursue the most outrageous violations that were clearly contrary to the interim policy adopted last summer, our focus is on the future. The new guidance establishes a common set of expectations for the Division I institutions moving forward, and the board expects all Division I institutions to follow our recruiting rules and operate within these reasonable expectations."

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