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Pfeiffer reacts to NCAA position on athlete sponsorship

A recent opinion stated by the NCAA’s Board of Directors will have lasting impacts for student-athletes at all levels of competition. Those changes will include Division III schools like Pfeiffer University as well.

Danielle Lafferty, director of athletics, said she believes it is a wide decision to support a student-athletes’s right to their own name, image and likeness (called NIL for short).

“I believe all student-athletes, regardless of division, should have the same opportunities as their fellow general student population does. A student-athlete shouldn’t be held back from financial opportunities simply because they play a sport and have the title student-athlete,” Lafferty said. “In today’s world, these kinds of opportunities are endless and are likely already being capitalized by many before they even come to college. I think a lot of people confuse this with the pay-to-play concept that goes against what amateur athletics is. That isn’t what this is. As long as it is managed and guidelines are in place this will be a positive thing.”

While Div. I athletes like football players may be higher profile and work with larger companies, Lafferty believes it will have more of an impact on Div. II and III than some may think.

“Div. II and III athletes will also be doing the same thing, just with small and local companies as well, not only with businesses, but with social media and entrepreneurship,” Lafferty said. “Until the NCAA and the membership can decide on the rules and regulations for this there is a lot of fear in how athletic departments will be able to monitor their student-athletes as it relates to name, image and likeness.”

She said institutions like Pfeiffer who have a small staff “will find it challenging to monitor and document the details of what each student-athlete is doing and ensuring guidelines are being met.” She added it will be tricky to manage, but “what we will vote on in January of 2021 will have a variety of concepts to make sure the NCAA and its membership get this right.”

Pfeiffer does not have a strategy yet from a marketing sense, Lafferty said, but said one thing they know is schools and conferences will be prohibited from playing a role in how a student-athlete manages their own NIL activities. Those activities include “allowing the student to use conference and school logos, trademarks or other intellectual property in any endorsement,” Lafferty said.

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