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NIL executive order rescission welcomed by Big Four leaders

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(The Center Square) – Big Four athletics directors welcomed North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s rescinding of an executive order nearly three years old and now outdated by the Tennessee v. NCAA preliminary injunction.

Cooper’s order July 2, 2021, followed the NCAA allowing students who are athletes to start earning money based on their name without damage to their amateur status. The order outlined responsibilities of all institutions in the state, and essentially said compensation would not affect scholarship eligibility – same as the NCAA said a day earlier.

The athletics department leaders at Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State and Wake Forest were each included in a release from the second-term Democrat’s office. Bubba Cunningham, in his 14th year in Chapel Hill, said as the landscape on name, image and likeness evolves for collegiate athletics, “We all continue to adapt to legal decisions and ever-changing rules.”

U.S. District Judge Clifton L. Corker’s Feb. 23 ruling blocks the NCAA from enforcing its interim NIL rules or any NIL restrictions until the full case is heard and a ruling rendered. Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti said, “The NCAA’s monopoly cannot continue to harm Tennessee student-athletes. The NCAA is not above the law, and the law is on our side.”

N.C. State’s Boo Corrigan, a month shy of completing his fifth year in Raleigh, said Cooper’s move “gives us the flexibility to more competitively position our student-athletes.”

Carolina and State are part of the UNC System, aided in part by taxpayers. Duke and Wake Forest are private schools.

“We believe this is a step in the right direction to allow our student-athletes more flexibility inside the NIL landscape and all institutions within the state to remain competitive at the highest level with our counterparts nationwide,” said Duke third-year Athletics Director Nina King.

Wake Forest’s John Currie, now in his sixth year leading the Demon Deacons’ department, expressed appreciation for Cooper’s engagement on the issue. He said Wake would continue “providing a competitive NIL infrastructure as a component of our commitment” for the more than 425 athletes at the Winston-Salem school.

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