PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The NCAA is reviewing the University of Oregon’s relationship to an organization backed by Nike founder Phil Knight and other prominent alumni aimed at helping athletes with marketing opportunities.
Documents obtained by KOIN 6 through a public records request show the NCAA sent a letter to the University in December asking Oregon’s Chief Compliance Officer to explain how it interacts with Division Street, INC. The Division Street website describes itself as “a sport venture that will supercharge name, image, and likeness (NIL) opportunities for University of Oregon athletes.”
In June the NCAA began allowing college athletes to make money off of their abilities from outside sources after lawsuits and laws changed the long-standing requirement of amateurism, but the schools are not allowed to pay athletes themselves beyond scholarships.
The NCAA letter asks the university to answer six questions in order to “ensure the enforcement staff has a complete and accurate understanding of Division Street… and analysis of its permissibility,” wrote Anthony Del Giudice, NCAA Assistant Director of Enforcement.
The inquiry was first reported by Sportico but this is the first-time documents have been revealed publicly about the NCAA inquiry. The letter instructs the University to respond by January 14, 2022.
KOIN 6 requested Oregon’s response, but the Office of Public Records said the records were exempt from public disclosure.
The letter from the NCAA does not accuse the U of O of any wrongdoing. The NCAA instructs the University to explain whether any school staff members are involved with Division Street and if they receive compensation.
“Describe any institutional policies or procedures in place to ensure the agreements established via Division Street represent payment for actual work performed,” the letter stated.
The letter asks the compliance office to provide information on any contractual agreements facilitated by Division Street between Oregon athletes and businesses. It asks for the athletes’ names, their responsibilities under the agreements and how much they are to be paid.