The ever-changing landscape of NIL regulations
The GIST: Not to sound like a broken record, but NIL regulations (or the lack thereof) created a whole host of new challenges for athletic departments, and keeping up can feel like a never-ending game of whack-a-mole. The aforementioned Siergiej is in the thick of that chaos every single day.
How it works: Siergiej tends to the 4 For Forever marketplace’s “plumbing,” assisting interactions between student-athletes and vendors without being directly involved in deals — a delicate maneuver required to maintain NCAA compliance. Per Siergiej, “if [a vendor says it wants] to connect with a football student-athlete, I can connect [them], but I can't help facilitate an NIL opportunity.”
- To more directly assist athletes in inking NIL deals, ND works with a third-party advisory firm, Altius Sports Partners, which provides an “on-campus general manager,” says Siergiej. She can “do a lot of things that we can't do per NCAA rules.”
The challenges: NIL regulations vary from state to state, making enforcement 50 shifting shades of gray as the NCAA races to institute cohesive, binding guidelines. Part of Siergiej’s job is adjusting operations to comply with new rules while trying to anticipate new ones — meaning his work looks a bit different every day.
- “It's a lot of mental gymnastics to keep it straight and make sure all parties are aware of the rules,” he said. We’re exhausted just thinking about it.
- Although Siergiej’s team can’t facilitate deals for student-athletes, his office does work to educate them on the ins and outs of NIL by connecting students with experts on branding, taxes, and NIL law to ensure they can confidently operate in the space.