An Advisers Life – Rules Showing Why Advisers Should Not Use Clients Names Or Images


For quite a while now, years actually, I have been getting emails asking why my company doesn’t advertise our clients on our website, or why we don’t do big self promoting articles when our clients reach certain goals.  This is basically in response to a few advisers who do those things.

My reasoning has been for years that “it is against NCAA rules”.  Some people have taken that to mean that there is a specific rule against Advisers using their clients names, likeness, and image on line or in other advertising.

The truth is, it is against NCAA rules.  It is against NCAA rules for players and parents to allow such use to take place.  Read that again.  It is against NCAA rules for players and parents to allow their name, likeness or image to be used by an adviser while they are amateur athletes.

Now I know there are three or four advisers who are shaking their heads or calling me all kinds of names right now.  So, I am about to do your job for you fella’s and show you the proof as to the why it is against the rules.

Lets start here;

“A violation of NCAA rules by a student-athlete will immediately put his/her eligibility to compete in intercollegiate athletics in jeopardy. In addition, a violation of NCAA rules by the parents, relatives and/or friends of a student-athlete will have a similar effect.”

Everyone understand that?  The rules are not only intended for the athlete.  They are intended for parents, relatives and/or friends.

Can we make a clearer statement than this taken from an NCAA compliance office;

“Student-athletes MAY NOT allow their name,  picture or personal appearance to advertise, recommend or promote the sale or use of any commercial products, services or businesses.”

So that we are clear.  An Adviser, Consultant, or any other person who is in the business of providing services for a fee is not allowed to use any amateur athletes name, image or likeness because NCAA rules do not allow players and their family or friends to authorize that use.

Now some rule breakers are saying, “but it doesn’t say exactly that”.  Well, yes it does if you understand legal terms and the basis for the rule.

“commercial products, services or businesses” is clearly defined as an act of “commerce” which is revenue generating, or profit making.

The foundation for this lays in what is commonly known as “personality rights” or the “right of publicity”.  Long standing legal terms with case law behind them.  Basically establishing a value for someone’s name, likeness or image.  Those rights belong to the person who is so named, used as a likeness or shown in the image.

Because the player is the person in question owning those rights.  Under NCAA rules they can not allow or personally convey the right of use to endorse any “commercial” industry or product.

The Adviser who uses a players name, likeness, or image in any way that may be considered self promotion or advertising is in fact and by definition risking that athletes NCAA eligibility.

If it looks like, sounds like, reads like, or comes across as “endorsing” any Advisor, you are in NCAA violation.  If its an announcement saying the player signed with this company; is with; has agreed to be represented by; or is using the services of; or anything close to those sayings, its an NCAA violation.

So why do some Advisers do this?  Why do they use their players information to self promote and attempt to generate new business?  Simple.  They either don’t care about the rules, or aren’t educated or experienced enough to understand the rules.

Another reason some Advisers do this, is that the NCAA has no authority over Advisers.  But they do have authority over the athletes, and that is why it is a rule that the athlete and his family must make sure is followed.  Then again, any informed, and experienced adviser isn’t going to put you at risk in the first place.

Now using a players name, likeness and image after they have exhausted their amateur status is something different.  The Adviser can do as much of that they like.

Even something as simple as a “testimonial” that fully names the parents or names the player and can be seen as an endorsement of the service is against the rules.

Bottom line is that if there is any question of whether or not something you do, or allow to be done is an NCAA violation; don’t do it.  It takes one person to think something improper has taken place and you will fall under the microscope of suspicion.

Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser