Definition of NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) Rights

What does the term NIL rights (Name, Image, Likeness rights) mean in the world of NCAA sports? What is meant by NIL rights?

Over the past few years, thanks to various litigation (some of which involved the Supreme Court), there has been a seismic shift in terms of how NCAA athletes can be compensated.

The meaning of the term NIL Rights is explained.  What does it mean when it comes to NCAA sports?  The King explains.In the past, NCAA athletes weren't allowed to receive any sort of endorsement dollars, as this would have been a violation of NCAA rules.

Now, NCAA athletes can monetize their NIL rights, which means Name, Image and Likeness rights.

This means, for instance, that a quarterback for Alabama can sign an endorsement deal with a soft drink company, or a wide receiver at USC can sign a deal with a video game company.

There are only two stipulations in the NCAA's interim policy on NIL rights:

1. Compensation can't be tied to on-field performance

2. Schools can't offer impermissable incentives to come to their schools


Over the past year, we've seen athletes sign 6 and even 7-figure deals.

In the past, athletes would essentially live with no money during college, and this would lead to cases where school boosters would offer inappropriate cash payments/other luxuries to athletes.

Now, with NIL rights deals, athletes can start to monetize their name, image and likeness rights while they are attending college.


In the past, everybody but the athlete was being compensated. The schools were making money, the companies advertising were making money, etc - everybody except the athletes themselves.

This has changed, and now college athletes have the opportunity to make significant sums of money while still attending school.