Jon Solomon of the Birmingham News dug into the NCAA’s Student-Athlete Statement, a required NCAA document with many parts which all student-athletes sign. Research finds that student-athletes objecting to signing is not unheard of and that most compliance officers believe that is fine when it comes to promotional rights:
An Ithaca College survey of 213 Division I compliance officers found that 20 percent have witnessed athletes who did not want to sign part or all of the Student-Athlete Statement. When the survey asked if the document giving the NCAA promotional rights is necessary for an athlete’s eligibility, 80 percent of compliance officers said it is not.
Count me with the minority then. The promotional rights section of the Student-Athlete Statement is Section IV. This is from the instructions on the first page:
If you are an incoming freshman, you must complete and sign Parts I, II, III, IV, V and VII to participate in intercollegiate competition. If you are an incoming transfer student or a continuing student, you must complete and sign Parts I, II, III, IV, V and VI to participate in intercollegiate competition.
There appears to be little wiggle room for a student-athlete to opt out. Contrast that with the text of the NCAA’s HIPAA waiver:
I am making this authorization/consent voluntarily to release my health information otherwise
protected by federal regulations under either the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (the Buckley Amendment). The NCAA and institution are not requiring this authorization/consent to be signed. (emphasis added)
If the grant of promotional rights is truly voluntary, then it needs to be made clearer on the form. Luckily, one of the most likely outcomes of the O’Bannon lawsuit is change to the Student-Athlete Statement.