I have never been one to shy away from voicing my opinion and the recent US Supreme Court ruling in favour of allowing student sports stars to earn an income in line with their name, image and likeness is something that is very close to my heart.
I have been a champion for this since I was a student athlete at Penn State University. What is concerning however, is that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has not addressed the issues surrounding international student athletes whereby this ruling comes up against United States visa laws which basically bar international students from working more than 20 hours per month.
This jeopardises the ability of international students to cash in on their name, image and likeness (NIL) rights or leaves this issue in a very grey area.
We need to make sure that all our international students we represent have a combined voice to challenge the US visa laws so that they have the same earning power as their US counterparts.
It’s not unusual for progressive law changes to encounter bureaucratic obstacles in the form of antithetical and incompatible policies, so what we need to do is demonstrate that the visa laws need to change at the same time for the regulations to make sense or there needs to be an accommodation made in the current student visa laws that addresses this earning potential.
At the root of the problem is a recent ruling against the NCAA, which sought to maintain the status quo of student athletes competing as amateurs. The new laws, which took effect July 1st , will see college student athletes being cleared to profit from their name, image and likeness, effectively opening the door to student sports stars making money from activities such as endorsements, autographs or hosting camps.
While those with United States citizenship are clear winners under the new laws, international students – such as the talented African we place into American colleges through scholarships – will lose out, thanks to the visa programme stipulations.
According to the NCAA’s statistics, just more than one in ten college athletes is an international student. The laws were designed to ensure that people applying to study in the United States