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‘UnPHILtered’: Professor discusses Caitlin Clark and new NIL rules

UnPHILtered: Changes to college athlete name, image, and likeness policy

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH)– A federal judge ruled that the NCAA cannot enforce it’s name, image and likeness rules that block student-athletes from negotiating deals with boosters. 

So, what does that mean? News 8 anchor Phil Sanchez spoke with Les Morris, a professor at Franklin College and Indiana University who teaches a class that focuses on NIL and NIL media branding.

“Previously, there was sort of a dance that was done,” Morris said. “The recruit could know how the school was doing in NIL, but couldn’t receive a direct offer from a collective which is a group of supporters that funnels money into a group and that pays out money to student athletes. So, this makes it more transparent.”

In the ruling, Judge Clifton Corker wrote, “The NCAA’s prohibition likely violates federal antitrust law and harms student-athletes. While the NCAA permits student-athletes to profit from their NIL, it fails to show how the timing of when a student-athlete enters such an agreement would destroy the goal of preserving amateurism.”

Morris said he thinks this ruling is another step towards student athletes essentially just becoming full-time university employees. 

“We are not far way from that happening,” Morris said. “That train is rolling down the tracks and really has been. There are also a number of court cases boiling up that would make student athletes employees. As an example at Dartmouth, the men’s basketball team has received the okay to vote on whether to unionize next week.”

The NIL news came just days before the announcement that Iowa basketball sensation, Caitlin Clark, would be entering the WNBA draft. A draft where the Indiana Fever holds the first overall pick. Clark is reportedly making about $750k in NIL money.

“She’s such a unicorn,” Morris said. “She’s off the charts in terms of popularity and market value. So, she is not going to suffer. Her popularity is going to skyrocket. It’s a great day for central Indiana and Indiana sports fans for sure. She transcends anything NIL because of her drawing power. The majority of student athletes are not in the Caitlin Clark stratosphere.”