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NCAA Changes Stance on Punishment for NIL Violations

January 19, 2024

The NCAA Imposes Level II Sanctions on Florida State University for Impermissible Activity with Collective

Last week, the NCAA announced that it will impose significant sanctions against Florida State University’s (FSU) football team regarding name, image, and likeness (NIL) violations committed during the 2022-23 academic year. The sanctions are in response to evidence that an FSU assistant coach impermissibly facilitated and transported a prospective student-athlete and his family to meet with a booster, who is also affiliated with the program’s NIL collective. The NCAA stated that the assistant coach “provided false or misleading information about his knowledge of any involvement in the violations,” which ultimately increased the severity of the punishment.

In response, the NCAA announced extensive level-II sanctions against FSU, including:

    • Two years of probation, from January 2024 – January 2026;

    • A requirement to disassociate with the collective involved in the allegations for one year (although the collective may still work with FSU athletes, the university itself cannot be involved);

    • A three-year disassociation from the booster involved;

    • A prohibition on recruiting communication for six weeks over the next two academic years, including the week of January 12-18, 2024;

    • A prohibition on communication with athletes in the transfer portal from April 15-21, 2024;

      • A $5,000 fine plus 1% of the football budget;

      • A 5% reduction in football scholarships over the two-year probationary period, amounting to a total reduction of five scholarships;

      • A reduction in the number of in-person recruiting days during the 2023-24 academic year by six evaluation days during fall 2023 and 18 during spring 2024; and

      • A reduction in football recruiting communications for a total of six weeks during the 2023-24 and 2024-25 academic years.

      Additionally, the NCAA announced the following sanctions against the assistant coach involved:

        • A two-year show-cause (meaning, if the position coach is hired at another school, that school must explain to the NCAA its choice to hire the coach);

        • A 3-game suspension (to be imposed for the first three games of the 2024 regular season); and

        • A restriction from off-campus recruiting.

        Despite the NCAA’s previous hesitancy to harshly penalize member schools for NIL violations, these sanctions may indicate a shift in the NCAA’s approach, and its willingness to penalize schools that violate NIL related rules. Interested parties should contact Varnum’s NIL Practice Team to ensure they are in compliance with applicable NCAA, state, and institutional regulations.

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