Lawmakers discuss how best to pay college athletes

The Nevada Legislature Building in Carson City on Tuesday, July 14, 2020.

The Nevada Legislature Building in Carson City on Tuesday, July 14, 2020.
Photo: David Calvert / The Nevada Independent

The committee studying how to implement the new NCAA rules allowing student athletes to get paid for endorsing companies and their products called on Congress to develop a national policy on how the so-called Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) system would work.
In a letter to Nevada’s congressional delegation, members of the interim study committee said national policy would replace increasingly complicated and conflicting policies and laws enacted by different states.
“In the void of federal legislation, disparity among states’ legislation has emerged, impacting recruitment and retention efforts,” the recommendations approved Thursday state.
Members also called on Congress to develop a plan for international students to participate in NIL deals by addressing complications with their visas such as work restrictions for F-1 visa status.
The list of recommendations will be presented to the legislative Committee on Education when the 2023 Legislature convenes in February.
The recommendations also include a list of NIL “best practices” such as mandating NIL activities by student athletes be consistent with institutional and NSHE policies, local, state and federal laws and NCAA regulations. Athletes would need to get permission from their institution to use logos, marks and facilities for NIL engagements and they must wear and use institution-issued gear and equipment during athletic activities. Universities, including Nevada and UNLV, make thousands from deals with such companies as shoe suppliers.
That list also requires educational support for student athletes including financial implications of their contracts, tax implications and scholarship impacts.
The committee wasn’t sure how to handle a recommendation they ask NSHE to study how to apply NIL rules to junior and community colleges. Terina Caserto of NSHE said that study should be done by the National Junior College Athletics Association. But College of Southern Nevada Athletic Director Dexter Irvin said that association won’t do it, that they would just ignore the request.
“You’ll get a nice letter but that’s all,” he said.
So they left the issue to the education committee to decide who should conduct the study.
The committee is also seeking a study from the Gaming Control Board on what NIL implications there are for the gaming industry if contracts are sought between gaming licensees and student athletes.
They finally recommended imposing disclosure requirements on those contracts but left it to the Board of Regents to decide what parts of contracts must be included in any reports to the board. They recommended a cap on financial disclosures to be set by the education committee.
Eric Nepomuceno, UNLV’s compliance director, told other members of the panel that should be something like $10,000. He said most of the contracts he’s seeing at this point are like $25 to a student athlete to attend a kid’s birthday party.
Committee Chair Assemblyman C.H. Miller, D-North Las Vegas, said the list is just a series of recommendations to the education committee which will decide what to put in state statute.

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