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What the Heck Is NIL?

Updated: Sep 1, 2022

You're a high school or college athlete, or perhaps a parent or guardian of one. You've been hearing about this big fuss referred to as "NIL", but what exactly does that mean?

In the simplest of terms, NIL refers to endorsement deals - the use of a high school or college athlete’s name, image, and likeness to earn money through marketing and promotional endeavors, such as product endorsements, autograph signings, and social media posts.

So what's the big deal?

The big deal is that until June 2021, making money from NIL was a violation of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) amateurism rules, and would land a student athlete in the NCAA doghouse - out of compliance, and ineligible to play, among other various penalties that the NCAA could impose based upon the severity of the infraction.

What happened in June 2021? That was when the United States Supreme Court upheld the district court ruling (NCAA v. Alston, 141 S. Ct. 2141 (2021), that held that the NCAA rules limiting education-related compensation violated section 1 of the Sherman Act (See id. at 2151–52, 2166). Shortly after the Court’s ruling, the NCAA voted to allow a student athlete to receive compensation in exchange for use of their name, image, and likeness (NIL), and here we are!


But wait - you didn't think the NCAA would make this easy, did you? Well, they didn't - they left it up to each institution to make their own rules for compliance. That means that each college, university, or in some instances, state high school athletic governing bodies, has their own set of rules, making the nuances of compliance different across the board.

What does that mean?

If you're unsure if a proposed deal would result in non-compliance with your athletic governing body, please consult your Athletic Director, agent, or attorney before you sign, or contact Team Trippel for a complimentary contract review.

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