The University of Louisville has enacted multiple educational initiatives and resources as part of its eLevate program to aid its student-athletes in making informed decisions about future Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) opportunities coming to collegiate athletics.
Cardinal Athletics staff have led a campus NIL working group that includes individuals from the university’s sport administration program and law school to provide resources and programming for supporting the NIL pursuits for its student-athletes.
Throughout the month of June, UofL student-athletes have been offered NIL education to aid them in understanding the opportunities that may become available to them, as well as rules and a disclosure process coming soon. In addition to the June sessions, UofL is providing education and ongoing support through these initiatives:
- A pilot NIL law clinic available this fall to all UofL students including athletes needing guidance on their NIL opportunities.
- A sport administration elective class entitled “NIL in College Sports” offered for the 2021 UofL Fall semester.
- NIL, social media, and brand management education modules through UofL’s “eLevate” partnership with OpenDorse, plus custom athlete assessments based on a student-athlete’s current social media account and habits. Information on that program announced earlier can be found at this link: https://gocards.com/news/2020/9/17/general-louisville-athletics-to-prepare-student-athletes-for-nil-with-opendorse.aspx
- Life skills programming (speakers, resources) through Athletics’ Beyond the Buzzer and Cardinal Select programs.
- One-on-one consultations & continuing NIL education outreach provided to UofL student-athletes and their parents and guardians.
- A plan to partner with The College Licensing Company (CLC) & Game Plan for their “Compass” resources—which include online life skills education modules (including NIL related topics), NIL disclosure and reporting platform, and student-athlete career services.
- Creating a UofL NIL Advisory Board which includes several athletics staff, university staff and faculty members with subject matter expertise on media, marketing, branding, contracts, intellectual property, international student visas and employment, compliance and other areas to serve as an outlet for guidance in the rapidly evolving NIL landscape.
- UofL athletics administration continues to meet with individual teams and student-athletes to learn about their questions, proposed plans, and help them navigate through NIL opportunities.
UofL Associate Athletic Director Matt Banker is running point on UofL’s NIL initiatives.
To this point, the NCAA has indicated the following activities have been permitted by institutions without triggering impermissible institutional involvement in a student-athlete’s name, image and likeness activity: (1) Providing educational programming on NIL and associated regulations; (2) Assisting in evaluating opportunities; (3) Assistance with compliance and disclosure expectations; and (4) Assistance in the evaluation of professional service providers.
NCAA legislation and possible state or federal laws will govern what may be done. Among the items a student-athlete can do now before NIL activities are permissible are to develop their own business and marketing plans, research companies in which they may wish to pursue NIL opportunities, organize social media accounts and strategy, continue to receive education, and to receive and review proposed opportunities without committing to them until rules are established. UofL staff is in the process of developing some baseline UofL NIL policies to address NIL transactional matters, conflicts of interest, the use of UofL marks, and other related items.
UofL NIL educational resources, news, and updates will be featured online at GoCards.com/NIL. Below is additional material on campus-wide initiatives to support UofL students including student-athletes on NIL opportunities.
UofL Law’s Entrepreneurship Clinic to Assist UofL Students with NIL Issues
The Brandeis School of Law created the Entrepreneurship Law Clinic in 2012 to provide law students with an experiential learning opportunity by providing legal support to students with entrepreneurial legal questions.
Historically, the Clinic has focused on assisting students enrolled in the Entrepreneurship MBA program at UofL’s College of Business as they develop business ideas, form teams and compete in business plan competitions for seed funding. Over the years, the Clinic has specialized in assisting students with things like articles of organization, operating agreements, opinions of counsel, independent contractor agreements and option agreements for technology.
This Fall, the Clinic will add Name, Image, and Likeness to its areas of expertise to assist UofL students, including student-athletes, as they encounter legal issues when setting up a brand and marketing that brand over social media.
The Clinic is run by Will Metcalf, who is also Associate Vice President for Research Development and Partnerships in the Office of Research and Innovation. Beginning this fall, the Law School will also hire an intellectual property law expert as an adjunct professor to provide necessary training and assistance to clinic students as they work with their clients.
To emphasize the experiential learning aspect of the Clinic, the Clinic is run like the corporate department of a law firm, with weekly firm meetings covering agreements, accounting, intellectual property (including NIL), ethics, FDA approval and other topics. Students also receive support from law school faculty and a number of local firms and meet with MBA professors to get an understanding of their clients’ ideation process. In addition, Clinic students will have the opportunity to work with the other NIL entities on campus to improve their understanding of NIL issues and better represent their clients.
While student-athletes may encompass a more visible proportion of UofL students seeking access to these types of services and resources, the NIL legal clinic and the Sport Administration NIL curriculum is not solely for athletes or Sport Administration students. All UofL students who may have NIL needs, including “influencers”, eSport athletes, budding fashion designers, or media content creators can all benefit from enhanced knowledge and resources related to NIL. Additionally, students seeking future employment in college athletics or service-provider roles assisting college athletes with NIL opportunities can benefit from the educational services obtained through this initiative.
UofL Sport Administration Program Offers NIL Course
The Sport Administration Program in the College of Education and Human Development, Cardinal Athletics, and the Brandeis School of Law have announced a new interdisciplinary educational partnership focused on empowering UofL students and student athletes to successfully navigate the emerging name, image, and likeness (NIL) marketplace.
Set to launch in August 2021, the Sport Administration NIL curriculum includes a ground-breaking new course specially designed to explore the emerging and dynamic NIL landscape in college athletics. The “NIL in College Athletics” (SPAD 561.50) course is the first course of its kind being offered for academic credit as part of the Sport Administration Program’s COSMA accredited degree program.
The Sport Administration Program’s NIL educational support initiatives will be spearheaded by Dr. Adam Cocco and Professor Anita Moorman, who have extensive experience and knowledge related to the legal, policy and economic aspects of NIL.
Prof. Moorman says “NIL is here, and any person working in college athletics must understand this legal and economic landscape. Opportunities for our students are limitless if they understand how NIL will impact the business of college sports. This class not only will help them understand the legal, policy, and economic issues athletic administrators will be navigating, but they will actually have the opportunity to influence and contribute to best practices for ensuring athletes are prepared to enter the NIL marketplace safely and successfully.”
Dr. Adam Cocco will be teaching the NIL in College Athletics course and says “college athletics will undergo dramatic changes in the coming years with the introduction of new NIL policies and legislation. We are excited to be one of, if not the first sport management program to offer a NIL in College Athletics course to our students and ensure they are ready to meet the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities that will be presented within this burgeoning NIL marketplace in college athletics.”
The course is available for both undergraduate and graduate students and is designed and developed specifically blending essential topics related to NIL such as legal and policy issues, basics of entrepreneurship, mechanisms for monetizing NIL, assessing fair market value for NIL; exploration of social media analytics, and ethical issues surrounding NIL.
Professor Moorman and Dr. Cocco served as the Lead Law, Policy, and Data Analytics Experts for the SB206 California Community Colleges NIL Working Group summarizing and analyzing state and federal laws and NAIA/NCAA bylaws and policies impacting athlete compensation from NIL and endorsements; and conducting economic impact and social media market analysis for California Community College athletes. They assisted the Working Group in a series of public hearings, working group public meetings, and the preparation of final recommendations for the California legislature and the California Community College Athletic Association. Their expertise in the NIL landscape will enable students to have an exceptional and unique educational experience. With sweeping changes coming in college athletics and the overall growth of social media marketing and other NIL monetization opportunities for students across campus – the NIL in College Athletics course is perfectly timed to enable UofL students to learn how to navigate this new marketplace.
The Sport Administration Program also has a long history of innovation in its curriculum integrating emerging industry practices into real-world coursework for UofL Sport Administration students. Past immersive educational experiences include classes designed in partnership with the Ryder Cup, PGA of America, SP+Game Day Management and the Kentucky Derby, NFL Draft, NCAA Final Four, Kentucky Motor Speedway, World Equestrian Games, and the PanAm Games.