The NIL Glass Ceiling

51 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2022

Date Written: August 8, 2022

Abstract

On July 1, 2021, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) adopted the most progressive reform in modern intercollegiate athletics history when it conceded the right of nearly 500,000 NCAA athletes to monetize their names, images and likenesses (NILs). This historic reform followed the enactment of dozens of state laws on the topic and a unanimous Supreme Court decision in NCAA v. Alston, which held that the national governing body violated antitrust laws with its restrictions on athletes’ educational, and perhaps other, benefits. Almost immediately, wealthy University of Texas donors established an unprecedented $10,000,000 collective to finance NIL opportunities for Longhorns athletes. Today, there are over one hundred collectives, whose NIL opportunities favor men’s sports by a ratio of over five-to-one. Such enormous disparities in privately financed NIL send women discouraging messages about the state of gender equity, not only in intercollegiate athletics, but also in the workplace – where women face similar glass ceilings.

Although legal scholars have written extensively on the antitrust, labor and tax law implications of NIL, very little scholarship exists on the Title IX implications. In seeking to fill the gap, this Article uses a hypothetical state university to illustrate how schools facilitate gender discrimination through NIL collectives, contrary to Title IX. After exploring the implications of Title IX’s regulatory gap with respect to NIL, this Article introduces three proposals to close the gap.

Keywords: rights of publicity, intellectual property, Title IX, gender, civil rights, NIL, NCAA, administrative law

Suggested Citation

Boston, Tanyon, The NIL Glass Ceiling (August 8, 2022). University of Richmond Law Review, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4218277 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4218277

Tanyon Boston (Contact Author)

Northern Kentucky University ( email )

Nunn Drive
Highland Heights, KY 41099
United States

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