Cash Rules Everything Around Me: The Expansion of NCAA Name, Image, and Likeness Policy Among the States


  • Darrell Lovell West Texas A&M University
  • Daniel J. Mallinson Penn State Harrisburg



NIL Policy, Policy Diffusion, Political Decision Making, Civic Pride and Sports


Name, image, and likeness (NIL) policies have expanded rapidly in the United States in the past three years. Since the state of California passed a law allowing college student athletes to profit off their NIL, 41 states have either adopted or proposed similar legislation. Politics, the presence of high-level football programs, revenue, and geography have shaped this rapid expansion that has significant effects on higher education administration. Using survival analysis, this article explains the expansion of NIL policy and finds the key factors leading to its rapid diffusion. We find that the significant drivers of NIL adoption include high level NCAA football and the political motives of the state adopting that contributes to civic pride. The major findings suggest that this focus on football and its connection to civic pride and resulting political decisions creates opportunities and challenges for higher education.

Author Biographies

  • Darrell Lovell, West Texas A&M University

    Darrell Lovell is Assistant Professor of Political Science at West Texas A&M University and currently serves as the director of the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program. His research centers on connecting topics in public management and policy analysis to the field of education and administration. His most recent work has been published in Public Integrity, Administration & Society, and Administrative Theory & Praxis.

  • Daniel J. Mallinson, Penn State Harrisburg

    Daniel J. Mallinson is an Associate Professor of Public Policy and Administration at Penn State Harrisburg. His research interests include policy process theory (particularly policy diffusion and punctuated equilibrium theory), cannabis policy, energy policy, and the science of teaching and learning. His most recent work has been published in Public Administration Review, Administrative Theory & Praxis, Policy & Politics, Policy Studies Journal, and Business & Politics, among others.






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