Education of student-athletes and businesses will be key in keeping eligibility safe
As Clemson mentioned Thursday when it released its polices for its student-athletes’ name, image and likeness, it will use COMPASS to disclose their NIL activity.
On Wednesday, the NCAA announced college athletes will have the opportunity to benefit from their name, image and likeness beginning Thursday.
Governance bodies in all three divisions adopted a uniform interim policy suspending NCAA name, image and likeness rules for all incoming and current student-athletes in all sports.
“It is just a technology so after a student-athlete does it, they disclose a deal, ‘Hey, I did this social media post and this is the company and they paid me ‘X’ amount,” Deputy Athletic Director Graham Neff said to The Clemson Insider. “So, we just kind of log it. If there is anything that is flagged and we can review and flag it and say, ‘That does not seem like fair market value. You have done one social media post and they paid you X amount of dollars, that seems off.’
“So now we can go have a conversation and go look to explore it. There is a formal review process.”
South Carolina’s NIL Law was not to take effect until July 1, 2022. However, Attorney General Alan Wilson certified the bill and put it into effect on Thursday, a provision at the bottom of the bill that allowed him to do such in case a governing body, such as the NCAA, set new guidelines for NIL.
“The legislation ensures fairness to our athletes, which is a very good thing. The law should immediately go into effect,” Wilson said via a press release. “This law provides guardrails to protect student-athletes so they can benefit financially without being taken advantage of.”
But how does Clemson make sure there are no impropriate deals. That gets into booster education and community education. That was a big part of the meetings Clemson’s Athletic Department had on Wednesday, as they rushed to finalize their plans before the new NCAA bylaws went into effect Thursday morning.
“We talked about, do we have some local businesses (meetings) or town hall (meetings), just to educate our community’s business owners on what they can and can’t do with fair market and those types of things in addition to educating the kids,” Neff said. “That is what we can do. What is so different about this NIL piece is there is a line that is being determined of what the university can do for its student-athletes, which is education, compliance and monitoring. But then on the other sideline is a lot of stuff we can’t do.
“We can’t connect them to make deals. It is the student-athletes own venture to go do it. So, that is where we have to be sensitive. We have to be really, really heavy on the education, the monitoring, the community worth and the compliance. But we can’t cross the line to help a kid do a deal.”
Though the area is grey, as Neff put it, that is the main distinction the NCAA has told Clemson and other schools.
“We have a team here just to filter questions because there is going to be a lot of questions,” Neff said. “We had a Zoom call with all student-athletes last night and we had another one today and subsequent ones that will be team meetings.
“Quite frankly, as a group, it is as new, and they are as uneducated as we are. It has been rolled out so quick and so last minute there are going to be issues that come up at Clemson and other places over the next couple of months. That is just the reality. The best we can do is try to manage it, educate it, be in touch and recruit kids with integrity, which we feel like we do. We have to educate our boosters and have boosters with integrity, which we feel like we do.”
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