Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education Policy, Planning, and Administration

Committee Chairperson

Kathryn Alessandria, Ph.D

Committee Member

Benjamin Brumley, Ph.D

Committee Member

Craig Stevens, Ph.D


Prior to July 2021, college athletes were prohibited from earning compensation from their Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) due to the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) rules on amateurism (Sirota, 2021). A landmark Supreme Court ruling allowed college athletes to earn compensation from their NIL starting July, 2021 (Longoria, 2021). Since then, media coverage on NIL compensation has been primarily at the Division I level. The purpose of this study was to understand Division II college athletes’ perceptions of NIL compensation. This study utilized a 15-question mixed methods survey consisting of multiple choice and open-ended questions. Frequency tables were used to illustrate the demographic information of the participants (n = 71). Sixty one percent of the participants were college athletes on women’s sports teams and 39% were on men’s sports teams. Chi-square analysis was used to identify significant differences between male and female sports and pre-NIL ruling/post-NIL ruling groups. The results of the open-ended questions, which were about the issues with NIL compensation, were analyzed using inductive and deductive coding to conduct a thematic analysis of the participants’ responses. The nine themes revealed included athlete image, derail focus, negative effect on team and fairness. The results indicated there were no significant differences in the participants’ responses when compared by gender and by enrollment pre and post-NIL compensation ruling. This was the case despite 20% of the participants being currently involved in NIL compensation opportunities. Implications and recommendations for future research on NIL at the Division II level are explored.