By Ken Reed

I have written many times in the past about the clear economic injustice that is the NCAA not allowing college athletes to control their names, images and likenesses (NILs).  (See here  and here)  Every other college student can benefit from the use of their NILs, including students on music and cheerleading scholarships.

The NCAA doesn’t regulate cheerleading like it does football, basketball and other sports. Cheerleaders aren’t held to the archaic amateurism standards that athletes are.  Some college cheerleaders rake in thousands of dollars from corporate sponsorship deals.  They can sell autographs, appear in commercials and promote products as social influencers while wearing their uniforms. If athletes try to do similar things, they lose their eligibility. 

Former Oklahoma cheerleader Jamie Andries received thousands of sponsorship dollars while cheering for the Sooners football and basketball teams.  She even hired an agent while in college to help manager her endorsement deals.  She said her coaches had no problem with her benefitting from her name, image and likeness.  The cheerleading coaches only requirement was that cheerleaders couldn’t miss practices or games for outside sponsor appearances.

Why couldn’t the same be true for college athletes?

“I was like, ‘Wow I get to cheer and I get to have this sort of side job that I get to focus on and I get to make some money that I can save up for myself to use after college,” says Andries.

That’s great for Andries and other cheerleaders.  But college athletes deserve the same rights.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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