The NCAA, the governing body that regulates college sports, made big news in the summer of 2021. A long simmering debate over access to financial opportunities for collegiate athletes, who have long been denied opportunities to benefit economically from their Name, Image and Likeness (NIL), was resolved by a major shift in NCAA rules.
Now, athletes will be able to benefit from their on-field exploits by accepting certain endorsements connected to their name, image, and likeness. Video game developer EA Sports, maker of extremely popular and annually released NCAA football games featuring the names and likenesses of college athletes, as well as television broadcasters selling advertising for college events, no longer have an exclusive right to leverage the popular appeal of NCAA-regulated athletes.
Though the rule change is only an interim policy that is being studied, and a more complete analysis with potential changes is still to come, the door is now open for college athletes to pursue endorsements that were previously impermissible.
“With the variety of state laws adopted across the country, we will continue to work with Congress to develop a solution that will provide clarity on a national level,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert. “The current environment — both legal and legislative — prevents us from providing a more permanent solution and the level of detail student-athletes deserve.”
However, this first step is still an extremely welcome development. Many of the schools are embracing this change and empowering their student athletes to take full advantage. In that spirit, Pond Lehocky Giordano is proud to announce the inauguration of an NIL endorsement program specifically devoted to taking a leading role in improving the lives of college athletes that have been negatively impacted by injuries.
As part of our existing Pond Lehocky Giordano Community initiatives, we will be providing financial support to athletes from Philadelphia or playing in the Philadelphia region that have been injured on the field and find themselves especially in need of assistance.
Pond Lehocky Giordano is devoted to leveraging our expansive legal resources to secure financial compensation for the injured and disabled. Much like an employee injured at work, college athletes that have suffered a grievous setback on the field can find themselves suddenly and catastrophically removed from the activities, endeavors, and groups that they previously relied on.
Particularly, for college athletes, support from their university or college can disappear if the injury requires a lengthy recovery time or if they find themselves unable to play again at their former level or play again at all. Thanks to the NCAA’s NIL rule change, we at Pond Lehocky Giordano can now do our part to help alleviate that loss.
The very first college athlete we have chosen as a recipient of a Pond Lehocky Giordano NIL endorsement is football player Tykee Smith, a defensive back hailing from Philadelphia. In October of 2021, he suffered a torn ligament in his knee, which will require surgery to repair and preclude him from finishing his season. Smith was already recovering from an offseason surgery to repair a minor fracture in his foot.
In his first two seasons, he racked up 111 tackles and four interceptions, and in his sophomore season in 2020, Smith was named an All-American safety by Pro Football Focus (PFF) and several other organizations. He was also a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, which is given to the top defensive back in college football. His departure will be a huge loss for his team, but an even greater challenge personally.
Tykee is a role model on and off the field and a truly worthy recipient of our support. He is a talented, dedicated, and fearless athlete that we are proud to partner with. This is just the beginning of our NIL endorsements, but Pond Lehocky Giordano is honored to start playing a direct role in helping outstanding athletes from our community get back on their feet, and we wish Tykee Smith a speedy recovery.