Vaibhav Sharma, Photo Editor

Yale announced a new policy on Tuesday that will allow student-athletes to begin receiving compensation for their name, image and likeness. 

Bulldog student-athletes were notified of the University’s new Policy on Student-Athlete Name, Image, and Likeness, or NIL, in an email from Associate Athletic Director of Compliance Jason Strong that was obtained by the News. The policy outlines how students “may enter into agreements and engage in activity with external parties that provide compensation in exchange for use of their NIL.”

“We strongly encourage you to take time to review and understand the policy before engaging in NIL activities,” Strong wrote. “You are ultimately responsible for ensuring your NIL activities do not violate NCAA regulations or applicable state law.”

The implementation of the policy comes in response to a provision included in Public Act 21-132, signed into law by Gov. Ned Lamont on June 30, which allows student-athletes in Connecticut to use their name, image and likeness in exchange for compensation by engaging in paid advertisements. 

The bill was first introduced by the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee, and the provision took effect on Sept. 1. 

“For decades, student-athletes have been unfairly prevented from being compensated for use of their own image, while other organizations have made billions from the performance of these college students,” Lamont said in a press release. “I’m glad to have signed this bill into law and add Connecticut to the growing list of states that say student-athletes should be able to be compensated for their talents.”

The Yale policy states that NIL arrangements are to be “unrelated to any intercollegiate athletic program,” and any compliant NIL activity will have no impact on a student-athlete’s eligibility. 

Furthermore, Yale’s NIL policy “applies to all varsity student-athletes,” not just those competing in NCAA sports, according to Associate Athletic Director for Strategic Communications Mike Gambardella. This includes the squash, sailing and men’s crew programs, which compete outside of the NCAA.

Yale women’s golf captain Ami Gianchandani ’23 told the News that NIL rights come as a “positive change for student-athletes nationwide,” as high-profile student-athletes will have the ability to sign large-scale deals, while other student-athletes who are not provided with the same platform will be able to “create a stage of their own.”

“A student-athlete’s ability to use their NIL and capitalize on the opportunities they have through their NIL opens a lot of doors,” Gianchandani said. “Being part of the social media generation works in student-athletes’ favors here because student-athletes can build up a following on their own platform where they can reach thousands or more people with one post. Many popular deals consist of student-athletes posting content on their various social media accounts which is a very flexible, low-time-commitment way for a student-athlete to make money.”

Gianchandani, who is the co-founder and CEO of Accel Golf, also told the News that she is excited to be able to ramp up marketing for her venture because of her ability to attach her name, image and likeness to the brand.

The University wrote that the NIL policy is subject to change as “the new NIL landscape for collegiate student-athletes is still developing.” The Yale policy also states that student-athletes may be represented by a “duly licensed attorney or sports agent in connection with their NIL activity,” although the University strongly recommends that student-athletes exercise “proper due diligence” when doing so. 

A clause in the Yale policy, under the heading “Financial Aid,” states that students receiving need-based financial aid “should understand that income of any kind, including compensation received for NIL activity, may reduce their eligibility for University and/or federal financial aid.”

“Every family’s financial situation is different,” Director of Undergraduate Financial Aid Scott Wallace-Juedes told the News when asked how NIL-related compensation would affect a student’s financial aid package. “The Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid works with families to understand how their financial need is determined and how a Yale financial aid award meets 100 percent of that need. Financial aid officers also work with students and families to understand how changes to student and parent income, as well as their level of family financial need, are reflected in changes to their financial aid award in future academic years.”

The NCAA began permitting student-athlete use of their NIL for commercial purposes on July 1. 

Jordan Fitzgerald contributed reporting.

JAMES RICHARDSON
James Richardson covers men's basketball, squash and athletic administration. Originally from South Florida, he is a first year in Jonathan Edwards College.