How Colleges Should Address NIL on the Recruiting Trail

College athletic programs in at least six states will begin implementing “name, image and likeness” (NIL) policies beginning on July 1. Several other states have approved NIL policies that are set to be enacted in the coming years. College players can now use name, image and likeness for financial gain. But there is no national policy in place, and that is a concern as schools look to use NIL as a major recruiting tool. Without one national policy, there might not be a level playing field when it comes to recruiting.

“I think we’re all hoping for one uniform rule to be passed nationally,” said UCLA director of player personnel Ethan Young during this week’s 33rd Team Call. “The competitive equity and the disadvantage throughout the country is going to be massive, especially in this region, if that doesn’t happen.”

Young said the main challenge is being able to address NIL with recruits and their families – even if there’s no specific plan in place yet.

“When you’re in the trenches recruiting right now, the common theme is you have to be able to talk about it even if you can’t give a specific plan,” said Young. “And talk about the tools you’re putting in place for your program. We try to make it more about substance than flash.”

Young suggested talking to recruits the school’s alumni and how they can help, what the school can do to help build an athlete’s social media and how the school can help with professional development. The biggest issue, he said, is being prepared to answer their questions about NIL.

“And no one has the answers, so you have to say, ‘We don’t know what the plan is, but here are the tools we’re going to provide you in your four years here to try to do it the best we can.’”

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