College sports administrators are preparing guidelines that prohibit boosters from getting involved in the recruitment process through NIL deals.
According to Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated, a task force of university leaders are expected to release regulations clarifying that booster-backed collectives are banned from associating with high school prospects and transfer athletes. That includes through what they believe are “pay for play” NIL back-channels.
Schools could be sanctioned under NCAA rules for not abiding by spending bylaws.
“We let things get out of hand,” one official told Dellenger. “We have to get [the boosters] out of contacting recruits and bartering with them.”
According to Dellenger, experts believe that over 100 collectives have put more than $5 million into a “player salary pool” labeled under NIL deals.
“Everybody wants to hide under the NIL umbrella. This isn’t NIL,” Colorado AD Rick George told Sports Illustrated last week. “As the leaders of the industry, we have to say, ‘This is not acceptable.’”
However, the NCAA would likely face lawsuits from boosters if they tried to enforce these selective restrictions.
“Either you let everyone do it or you enforce the rule,” Florida-based sports attorney Darren Heitner said. “In essence, what’s happening or will happen is those who are willing to violate the rule will be rewarded if nothing is done about it. Don’t have a rule if you’re not willing to enforce it. This isn’t a matter of them not being able to do something. But will it further open itself up to more litigation, litigation it will probably lose?”
Sourced told Dellenger that these guidelines “are being rushed through the NCAA governance system and could be approved within a week’s time.” If so, they’d likely set up a heated legal showdown.