The collective conundrum

John T. Holden, Thomas A. Baker III, Joanna Wall Tweedie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The NCAA’s NIL policy left a great deal of grey area for schools and conferences to fill in. In this space, collectives have emerged to fill the financial role that booster groups were prohibited from fulfilling, and while NCAA policy still prohibits pay-for-play schemes, collectives have enabled a means for supporters to get cash to athletes, often in return for things like appearances and autographs. Collectives, however, are not a monolith, which makes it nearly impossible to impose a uniform policy. The multiplicity of collectives has raised a number of questions ranging from whether they are even permitted under NCAA rules to their tax status.

This Article proceeds in four substantive parts. In Part I, this Article examines the emergence of name, image, and likeness rights for college athletes and the contemporary landscape. Part II discusses the evolution of the collective model for name, image, and likeness rights from prohibition to open market. Part III analyzes some of the challenges facing the NCAA, conferences, and individual schools in how to regulate collectives. Finally, Part IV proposes a means for regulating collectives and creating a system that protects athletes while enabling a robust market to emerge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-144
Number of pages32
JournalOklahoma Law Review
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes


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