November 29, 2023

More than half of Americans (54%) support allowing college athletes to be paid for sports-related business using their name, image and likeness (NIL), according to a recent market survey and consulting firm Ipsos.Sports fandom graphics

The Ipsos Sports Poll surveyed Americans of all ages – 1,035 general population adults aged 18 and over – on a range of topics related to athletics, including the sports played, sports fans, issues in the sports industry and NIL rights.

The poll found that 57% of Americans agreed that monetizing the NIL had a positive impact on college athletics by ensuring players were fairly compensated.

“All signs in recent years have been that this is becoming the norm,” said Mallory Newall, vice president of Ipsos. “Americans generally support it. Most believe that the NIL has a positive impact on college athletics because it allows for fair compensation and allows players to profit through endorsement deals and the like from corporations trying to use their name instead of all that money going into the hands of other businesses or university administrations or not the players directly.”

A majority of black Americans (70%) supported paying for the NIL, according to the poll. Meanwhile, there was a more even split for white Americans (50%).

“As we know, the majority of NCAA Division I athletes, especially when it comes to Division I football, are disproportionately black,” Newall said. “And so I think that we’re seeing such a strong majority of black Americans … it just underscores that black athletes are going to benefit from these NIL deals. So it makes sense to me that black people have broad support.”

Different age groups also slightly influenced the results of the surveys. When given two options: “Monetizing the NIL is good because it ensures players are compensated fairly” and “It’s bad for college athletics because it gives certain schools a competitive advantage,” younger Americans—Gen-Z, millennials, Gen-X—were more supportive NIL and felt it was a positive thing, Newall said.

Among Americans ages 18 to 34 — Gen-Z and most millennials — 64% agreed that allowing college athletes to earn NIL money had a positive impact, while 60% supported it among 35-54-year-olds, Newall said .

“The NIL is one of the ways we address issues around the integrity of the game, what it means to maintain integrity in the sport,” Newall said. “And for younger Americans, the NIL does not compromise the integrity of the game. from the game or from your experiences as a sports fan. They simply believe it is right to allow athletes to benefit from their name, image and likeness.”

In June 2021, the NCAA issued an interim NIL policy that allowed college athletes to “engage in NIL activities that are consistent with the laws of the state in which the school is located.”

“There are a number of different efforts to introduce federal legislation to provide uniform protection across the country that have never gained enough traction,” said Sarah Hartley, a partner and attorney at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP who teaches sports law. at the University of Virginia School of Law.” “Right now, we’ve got several probably more than two dozen different versions of legislation around the country with different procedural protections or scope of NIL authorization and limited enforcement, which makes for a pretty messy landscape. in schools across the country and even at conferences.”

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