Big 12 News

An NIL-Fueled War is Brewing Between NCAA and Lawyers, Sports Agents

A story from The Athletic’s Stewart Mandel and Nicole Auerbach was released today, and warns of a feud brewing that is centered on name, image, and likeness and how the NCAA proposes to limit booster involvement in college football recruiting.

In the piece, The Athletic confirms that “new, clearer NIL guidelines” have been drafted by a subcommittee and are expected to lead the NCAA’s enforcement team into action against schools abusing and misusing the intent of NIL.

However, agents and lawyers alike are ready for whatever the NCAA is going to hypothetically throw at them.


“I think it’s adorable that the NCAA is acting as if they’re going to crack down on anything,” Russell Smith, a sports agent with Oncoor Athlete Marketing, said. Smith’s firm represents about 80 college athletes who are benefitting from NIL deals with their respective universities.

“​​The moment they come to try to interfere with one of my clients’ deals — the next day is the moment they get hit with an antitrust lawsuit,” attorney Mike Caspino told The Athletic. “They’re saying there’s a whole class of people (boosters) who can’t participate in the market for athletes’ NIL rights. That’d be like saying red-haired people can’t buy meat. That’s antitrust.”

Last summer, the Alston v. NCAA ruling left the NCAA scrambling to put together an interim policy on NIL that has led to the current mess that college football is experiencing. Now, 10 months later, a subcommittee is ready to wage war and enforce rules that should’ve been in place from the start.


“We had to make a business decision to say, ‘You know what? This is a line in the sand,’” Ohio State AD Gene Smith told The Athletic. “There’s going to be risk with the position that we’re going to take. There always is with these types of things. We could get sued. But, for the betterment of the whole and all the student-athletes we serve, we’ve got to take that risk.”

The issue with drawing that line in the sand, is that the NCAA was told it could no longer limit student-athletes compensation, and limiting the effect that boosters can have on recruiting could be skewed as just that.

“That’s exactly what they’re doing if they go after (boosters),” said Russell Smith. “They’re limiting compensation, which at the core of all this: The NCAA is no longer allowed to limit kids’ compensation.”

There is a major conflict on the horizon, and college athletics as we know it truly hangs in the balance.

To Top