NCAA Looks to Prevent Boosters From Using the NIL Rules As a Disguise for ‘Pay for Play’


After taking it off the table for so many years and avoiding the issue, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) finally relented and allowed student-athletes to profit off their name, image, and likeness (NIL).

Now, with boosters involved in negotiating these NIL deals, the NCAA will be cracking down on those who should not be offering pay for play by the standards of the league.

According to CBS Sports, the NCAA is making plans to crack down on boosters funding the name, image, and likeness payments, which were traditionally violations of NCAA rules before the changes took place.

NCAA Council chairman Shane Lyons spoke to CBS Sports about why the association’s ruling body is motivated to make sure boosters aren’t paying the players. They feel it can become a burgeoning scandal of “pay for play” disguised as NIL payments.

“How are they having conversations [with athletes]? They’re boosters,” Lyons said during the Fiesta Summit, a series of conference spring meetings, on Tuesday. “We’ve never let boosters be involved in the recruiting process. Where did it go off the tracks? … The collectives are boosters.”

There are now collectives of boosters, estimated to be more than 100. Some of the people heading the collectives are well known to both coaches and administrators.

One of them, John Ruiz Jr., is a University of Miami alumnus and billionaire who leads a University of Miami collective and has become the face of the NIL-collective issue.

Per the rules of the NCAA, boosters are not allowed to pay players or be included as part of a university’s recruiting process. The NCAA’s definition says that boosters act as “representatives of a school’s athletic interests.” That means that this extends to supporters who have made financial contributions to a school’s athletic department, arranged for employment of athletes, and/or assisted in providing benefits to athletes or their families.

Although he states he hasn’t heard directly from the NCAA about any violations, he told CBS Sports, “My platform is very consistent with all the rules with NCAA and state law. We probably have a more robust compliance system than the schools or the NCAA itself. I’m extremely comfortable. This is totally kosher. We have legitimate companies.”

There have been reports of boosters from various schools offering NIL deals to potential students instead of companies offering the deals. A rules subcommittee of the NCAA Transformation Committee is presently analyzing some of these agreements.

Since the change to allow students to be compensated debuted on July 1, 2021, the nine months after the official change have lived up to predictions of the recruiting terrain becoming the wild, wild West.

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