How Sports Betting Fits Into The New NCAA Student-Athlete Endorsement Rules

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The NCAA took a major step toward allowing student-athlete endorsement deals based on name, image and likeness (NIL) today.

Sports betting deals, though, could be excluded.

Following a meeting this week, the NCAA Board of Governors gave its support to third-party endorsements for college athletes. It also backed other forms of compensation for athletes, such as social media agreements and personal appearances.

However, one clause in the board’s published recommendation suggested sports betting might not be included in the sponsorship bonanza.

No NCAA support yet for ‘sin’ industries

The board said it would leave the body’s three divisions to decide whether “certain categories of promotional activities” should be precluded because they are “inconsistent with the NCAA membership’s values.” The board highlighted alcohol, tobacco, and sports gambling as activities in question. 

In other words, the board supports the majority of sponsorship deals but is passing the buck on deciding on these so-called “sin” industries.

The divisions also still have to accept the board’s wider recommendations on all sponsorship matters. The NCAA said that was expected to happen and the rules would be in place at the start of the 2021-22 academic year.

Holding firm on anti-betting stance

Some in the industry were surprised by the potential exclusion of sports betting from the endorsement deals. It was thought the NCAA might soften its resistance to the sector to buttress its finances if games are canceled this fall.

However, the NCAA appears happy to ride it out. In fact, the board’s recommendation also seemed to nix any chances of an NCAA football video game, thanks to a ban on using school and conference logos.

The NCAA’s official stance on US sports betting is that it supports federal regulation and does not endorse legalized wagering. After today’s announcement, that doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon.