Who Is NIL Leaving Out?
Challenges and Solutions for International Student-Athletes
Keywords:NIL, international student-athletes, F-1 visa, college athletics
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) adopted name, image and likeness (NIL) legislation in July 2021. The expectation was for all NCAA student-athletes to have the opportunity to seek compensation for their NIL, but the reality is quite different. International student-athletes are not easily able to benefit from their NIL due to restrictions placed on off-campus work under the terms of their entrance visas to the United States. This paper explores the need for the NCAA, NCAA member institutions, and government agencies to re-evaluate policies in an effort to ensure all student-athletes have the right to profit off their NIL. It is crucial that the membership is aware of how international student-athletes are confined by student visa regulations. In order to create a fair and equitable experience for all student-athletes, the NCAA and athletic departments need to understand off-campus work regulations and exceptions for international student visas (F-1 visa). Additionally, there is a need to advocate for this specific sub-population of student-athletes. We explore the idea of creating the opportunity for NIL to be on considered on-campus work for international student-athletes, or perhaps even assisting this population in filing exceptions within the constructs of the law. With domestic student-athletes already benefiting from NIL, it is time to find ways to allow international student-athletes to do the same. In essence, such opportunities would create one less barrier for international student-athletes who already face difficulty adjusting to life in the US.
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