SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey Says College Athletes are Calling for NIL Regulation

NCAA Football: SEC Media Days

Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) has been one of the hotter topics in college athletics since its inception back in 2021, and its wide-reaching influence has forever changed the way that many view amateur sports.

With the NCAA, it’s universities, and even those on Capitol Hill trying to traverse this new and confusing landscape, it is more important now than ever that those who make decisions concerning NIL make the right choices about how this will look going forward.

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, widely considered one of the most powerful names in sports, joined the SEC Network on Monday morning ahead of SEC Media Days this week and discussed the current NIL regulation situation and how he (and others in decision-making positions) is approaching the future.


Sankey believes that an overarching standard for NIL is needed, and says that student-athletes are also looking to decision-makers for some kind of regulation.

“Watching states very curiously bar the conference from overseeing its own policies, that we don’t even have the policies — it’s a level of confusion and misunderstanding, I think, in the part of state legislators that are doing that,” Sankey says. “And we’re going to have to go through a point of correction.

“I actually think what the states are doing now emphasizes the need for congressional action to have a uniform standard around college sports — name, image and likeness activity, and some other pieces. Our student-athletes ask us for that.

“There’s no defense to say ‘this is the best we can do by our student-athletes.’ Because they’re asking for us to engage in adopting policies so when they line up across the line of scrimmage from an opponent from another state, what they’re asking is… ‘we just want a common-sense standard.’ And I think that’s reasonable.”


Sankey wants to be perfectly clear: he’s not suggesting that NIL, or any of the opportunities it presents student-athletes should be taken away. He’s simply suggesting that some sort of law and order to the matter is very important, given the vast differences we’re seeing from state to state.

“And understand: we’re not taking things away,” Sankey said. “What we have is a system with no transparency, no oversight, no regulation, no enforcement, and we have no idea who’s printing business cards at Kinko’s and saying they’re an agent. I mean, literally, that’s what this state-by-state rollout has done.

“So we’ve identified some of those strategies. We work with our attorneys to do that properly. We’ve identified where the potential policies would be in conflict with state laws, and then we’ll have to engage, if we’re going to go the state route, with some space if the conference is going to be the regulatory and oversight body.”

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