Michael Rueda comments on recent changes to NCAA rules around name, image, and likeness

Article 01 July 2021 Experience: Sport

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) voted on Wednesday to adopt a stopgap policy that would allow student-athletes to exploit their names, images and likenesses, letting them profit from autographs, social-media posts and commercials and reversing decades of restrictions. Withers’ partner and head of the US sports and entertainment practice, Michael Rueda, has been frequently featured in several media outlets discussing the new opportunities for athletes as well as the grey area that this decision presents.

In a recent article by Bloomberg discussing how brands such as Six Star Pro Nutrition, GoPuff, and even local restaurants are looking to lock in deals and partnerships with newly eligible athletes, Michael commented, “it’s a transformative time and there is real opportunity with it. Other athletes in other sports will benefit significantly” and have an opportunity to “really capitalize on a moment in time that is really significant.”

Michael spoke with the AP News about the potential chaos during the flurry of initial activity due to the wide variance when it comes to NIL preparedness. He also emphasized the importance of schools teaching their athletes how to protect their rights and recognize and avoid bad deals.

“Some of the small deals are dictated by legal documents,” he said. “There are clauses in there that can trip you up, and you have to be aware of at least what it means. You may not be able to sort of dissect the nuances, but you have to understand what the impact is because brands are savvy enough to stick that stuff in there.”

To view the full articles, go to ‘Brands Prepare to Woo College Athletes After NCAA Loosens Rules’ by Bloomberg, ‘NCAA’s NIL decision changes the game for student-athletes’ by Reuters, and ‘Now that it’s time for NIL to go, how much money will flow?’ by AP News, all published June 30, 2021.