Georgia student-athletes have it about as good as anywhere else in the nation, but we’re about to find out how much better things could possibly be after Monday’s Supreme Court ruling.
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the NCAA can’t limit education-related benefits that schools provide on account that it would violate antitrust laws.
That means such items as computers, Ipads and laptops can be doled out, and trips to study and train abroad could become part of the landscape. Internships, externships can be provided without regard to costs or limitations.
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“Being a former University of Georgia student-athlete, I know how much the University of Georgia wants to ensure the success of their student-athletes, and they will spare no expense to make sure that happens,” former UGA All-American punter and current Icon Source manager Drew Butler said.
“Now, with the ability to take the top off with no limits, it goes to show that 2021 is the year of the college athlete.”
WATCH: Drew Butler explain NIL direction and the role his company plays
The Supreme Court’s ruling on educational benefits comes at a time where legislation to allow student-athletes to be paid for their name, image and/or likeness is set to start on July 1 in six states, including Georgia.
Already, five UGA athletes have been targeted for potential endorsements with Onward Reserve: Quarterback Brock Vandagriff, kicker Jack Podlesny, golfer Trent Phillips, sprinter Matthew Bowling and baseball player Connor Tate.
The NCAA, on its heels from Monday’s ruling, is also scrambling in an attempt to keep the playing field level on the NIL front.
This, after, after Si.com’s report that the Division I Council, which acts to set policies for the NCAA, elected to move back its schedule vote pertaining to NIL legislation.
The group is expected to review an NIL proposal written up by a handful of conference commissioners — including SEC chief Greg Sankey —and discuss NIL further on Monday.
Per the SI report, the new plan would call for the NCAA to make itself exempt from NIL legislation. Schools in states with an NIL law, such as Georgia, could follow that law without any sort of penalty.
The schools that are in states that do not yet have an NIL law would be allowed create their own NIL policy, provided they take care to exclude initiatives involving pay for play and recruiting inducements.
Butler oversees Icon Source’s collegiate division as it creates opportunities for brands to link up with student-athletes via its on-demand, digital marketplace.
Staying on top of NIL trends is a big part of Butler’s game, and that doesn’t figure to change anytime soon with legislation around the country evolving.
“It will be a key to set guidelines, but they can’t be too restrictive,” Butler explained. “You can’t chop off half of the market, and you can’t say people can’t participate because of X, Y or Z.”
Athletes are currently not allowed to appear in any gear with university logos or marks, or mentioned their school in their endorsements.
Butler believes that will ultimately change, later if not sooner.
“I think that is down the line with the utilization of Name Image Likeness,” Butler said. “It’s an evolution down the line.
“As universities and brands understand the positive effects of the market, they will find ways to create the rising tide that lifts all ships.”
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