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the 2022 season, Kiffin said this essentially means there is now free agency in college sports. “We don’t have the same funding resources as some of these schools do for these NIL deals so it’s basically dealing with different salary caps,” Kiffin said in a press conference. “We now have a sport that has completely different salary caps and some of these schools are five, 10 times more than everybody else what they can pay those players.” The game is fundamentally different for coaches, athletes, and also attorneys. Now 18 months into the NCAA’s interim NIL policy, there are still many questions. “The most pressing NIL issue one year after adoption of new state laws relates to whether anyone - Congress, states, the NCAA, conferences, or universities - will place limits on NIL endorsements,” said Will Berry, Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Law at the University of Mississippi. “Specifically, the line between acceptable and unacceptable recruiting practices has become increasingly blurry. It is difficult to separate the ‘acceptable’ NIL deals offered to members of one’s university from the ‘unacceptable’ NIL deals offered as an inducement to come to one’s university.” Higher education attorneys have noted that the NCAA’s policy is ambiguous and there is a lot of uncharted territory when it comes to NIL deals. “Another area of increasing confusion is the role a university can and cannot play in the procurement and oversight of NIL deals,” said Berry. “Universities seem to want to exert more control in this area, but are often unsure where the line is between acceptable oversight and improper facilitation of pay-for-play from third parties.” On one hand, the schools are not allowed to be involved with NIL deals, but on the other, the NCAA recommends that schools require students to report NIL activity to the institution. For often thinly staffed compliance and university counsel offices, keeping track of this can be a heavy burden – from fielding questions to developing methods of NIL disclosure. Could there be a demand for athletics compliance and legal experts in the near future? It’s very likely. “Two possible impacts NIL might have on the legal profession relate to its growth,” Berry said. “First, NIL creates a new market for representation and thus can help lawyers expand their book of business. It also might encourage more people to go to law school, as theexpertise agents need to provide relates in part to contract drafting of endorsement deals.” In addition to new avenues of legal work, there are also a variety of legal topics wrapped in to NIL. So much so that Ole Miss Law spearheaded a collaborative conversation series with all 11 other law schools in the Southeastern Conference to discuss these topics. The series included discussions on intellectual property, antitrust, collegiate trademarks, publicity rights of athletes, sports betting, tax aspects of NIL, NCAA infractions, college athletes as employees, and considerations for implementation of NIL. “Legal experts are trying to figure out this exciting new landscape in intercollegiate athletics,” said organizer Will Berry, a law professor at the University of Mississippi. “The conversation series provided an important window into these issues for students, athletes, lawyers, athletic departments and members of the general public interested in the effect of state NIL laws on college sports.”   18 

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