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Governor Cooper Rescinds Initial State Order Guiding NIL for NC Universities



Press Release


Governor Roy Cooper took executive action rescinding state rules guiding Name, Image, Likeness (NIL) compensation issued in July 2021 after the NCAA announced it would allow NIL payments to college athletes. The repeal comes after the federal court decision in Tennessee v. NCAA, other fast moving developments affecting NIL and consultation with North Carolina colleges and universities.


“Within days of the NCAA’s announcement that college athletes could benefit from their NIL, we put these rules in place at the request of colleges and universities to make sure they had the tools they needed to compete at the highest level,” said Gov. Cooper. “While these rules were helpful earlier in the process they are no longer necessary and I want to thank our colleges and universities for working with us so closely.”


The Governor’s action in 2021 set a standard for individual institutions to use as they formalized their own policies and procedures and was intended to ensure that North Carolina colleges remained competitive in a rapidly changing environment. That standard was developed in consultation with colleges and universities to meet their needs in an uncharted legal environment. As NIL practices, NCAA rules and legal decisions have further developed over the past three years, culminating with the preliminary injunction issued in Tennessee v. NCAA, the need for the state-level rules established in Executive Order 223 has diminished.

“Intercollegiate athletics is an integral element of the higher education experience for thousands of student-athletes and dozens of institutions and communities across the State of North Carolina,” said Wake Forest University Athletics Director John Currie. “On behalf of Wake Forest Athletics, we appreciate our state leadership’s engagement as the Name, Image & Likeness landscape has continued to evolve since July 1, 2021. Wake Forest Athletics is proud to be a leader in providing a competitive NIL infrastructure as a component of our commitment to providing a World Class Student-Athlete Experience for our 425+ student-athletes.”


“Rescinding the executive order is key because it levels the playing field for student-athletes at universities across North Carolina by ensuring they have the same opportunities to participate in NIL-related activities as those in other states,” said UNC-Chapel Hill Athletics Director Bubba Cunningham. “As the national landscape continues to evolve around the topic of Name, Image and Likeness and we all continue to adapt to legal decisions and ever-changing rules, we appreciate the opportunity to give feedback to our state to ensure flexibility and fairness.”


"We appreciate the commitment that our state leaders have shown to our student-athletes by rescinding the executive order,” said NC State University Athletics Director Boo Corrigan. “As we continue to navigate and determine best practices around the many issues surrounding Name, Image and Likeness, this action gives us the flexibility to more competitively position our student-athletes."


“Duke University and Duke Athletics have been aligned in support of our student-athletes taking full advantage of Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) opportunities from the outset,” said Duke University Vice President and Athletics Director Nina King. “Regarding today’s news, we are wholly supportive of Governor Cooper’s decision to rescind the Executive Order and appreciate his efforts as everyone navigates this unique and challenging time in college athletics. We believe this is a step in the right direction to allow our student-athletes more flexibility inside the NIL landscape and all institutions within the state to remain competitive at the highest level with our counterparts nationwide.”

Read EO 306 here.


Read the Governor’s 2021 Announcement of Rules here.

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