NCAA freezing investigations into third-party NIL activities after judge granted injunction

The NCAA will freeze any investigations into third-party participation in activities related to name, image and likeness in the wake of a preliminary injunction recently filed in federal court, association president Charlie Baker said in an open letter to member institutions released on Friday.

Under this pause, "there will be no penalty for conduct that "occurs consistent with the injunction while the injunction is in place," Baker wrote.

"I agree with this decision, while the progress toward long-term solutions is underway and while we await discussions with the attorneys general," he continued. "In circumstances that are less than ideal, this at least gives the membership notice of the board’s direction related to enforcement."

In the injunction issued last week, a federal judge based in Tennessee ruled the NCAA could not prohibit third-party involvement into a prospective student-athlete's recruitment without potentially violating antitrust laws.

The attorneys general for Tennessee and Virginia had filed the federal lawsuit in late January in the wake of an NCAA investigation into Tennessee's athletics department and a Knoxville-based NIL collective known as The Volunteer Club.

The order filed by the judge, Clifton Corker, did uphold three policies related to NIL that will continue to be enforced by the NCAA enforcement staff, Baker said: a prohibition on direct pay or inducement for athletic performance, a prohibition on NIL payments directly from the institution and a quid pro quo element that would require a student-athlete perform a direct action, such as social-media post, in return for compensation.

"I realize pausing NIL-related enforcement while these other bylaws are upheld by the injunction will raise significant questions on campuses. This is precisely why a (Division I) meeting room, not a courtroom, is the best place to change NCAA policy," Baker wrote.

"Additionally, the DI Board, NIL working group and NCAA staff are fully aware of the need to bring about clarity for the role of institutions as soon as possible. In fact, the council introduced a proposal in January intended to clarify the role of schools in NIL matters. That proposal will be on the council and board agendas this April."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NCAA freezing NIL investigations after injunction in Tennessee case