How NIL Rights Impact Canadian Players

Steve O Speak

It wasn’t all that long ago the NCAA announced that there would be changes coming to the NIL rights for college athletes – that is the name, image, and likeness rights for college athletes to be able to advertise themselves and financially gain from their appearances in the sport. With the growth of college sporting with more information on when it comes to wagering on these sports, what exactly are the rights for college stars, and what are the caveats that still exist for those looking to make a bit of money whilst still playing college football – particularly for Canadian players headed to the US.


The first of the big caveats is notably within the different states, provinces, and universities – whilst the NCAA announced that changes in NIL rights would be coming as a blanket across all competitors, it has yet to be put in to place and for now the universities, the states, and the individual provinces can make their own decisions on what these rules would be which has left some athletes high and dry where others have been able to start benefitting – whether or not this will influence future signings if changes are slow to come, but if some athletes are able to make a bit on the side by moving away from their local universities or signing somewhere else, particularly if there are things like signing benefits to be found, then it’s a bit of a non-thinker. For Canadian players, this could mean simply staying at home – there are reports that some students simply travel back to Canada to do their social media postings and similar, but this isn’t an option for all players.

For the other, the caveat is in regard to visa status – 12% of college athletes in the US hail from another country which prevents any working off campus except in very special circumstances – in these circumstances the university is obligated to terminate the visa no matter the loophole to get around these such as the players going back to Canada to benefit and is a very tricky rule to overcome. With Canadian college athletes increasingly looking to the US for the level of competition, these NIL rights do impact Canadian students too.

Perhaps the most public case of this had been the popular YouTuber Donald De La Haye, more widely known as Deestroying, who had lost his chance to play at the NCAA level because of his own YouTube career a number of years ago – despite this he was able to gain some success by signing with the Toronto Argonauts but hopes had been short lived due to rules with US based players. Things are slowly changing though, and with college stars held to higher professional standards than ever before, this is just part of the change.

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