GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – As the men’s basketball national championship was taking place Monday night, there were talks off the court recently about how players can better benefit from their name, image or likeness.

“Student-athletes have the opportunity to be influencers, they can run their own camps and clinics, they can now sign an autograph and get paid for it,” said Senior Associate Athletics Director for Compliance at East Carolina University, Alex Keddie.

NIL is something more than 50% of student-athletes benefit from at East Carolina University. One of those is former Pirates quarterback Holton Ahlers.

“I benefited through a car monthly, I had a couple of restaurants who would pay me monthly and I would bring my linemen once a month, but you would have to do something in return, whether it’s autographs or commercials or little things like that,” Ahlers said.

In July of 2021, the NCAA set rules for NIL, and the state of North Carolina was soon to follow.

“North Carolina didn’t have a law when NIL passed with the NCAA, but two days later, they had the North Carolina executive order and that basically aligns with the NCAA policy,” Keddie said.

Currently, each state has its own regulations for student-athletes who benefit from NIL. Just last week, there were congressional hearings for the first time in nearly two years to discuss whether or not federal regulations are needed.

“The idea for federal legislation would be sort of allowing for transparency in the NIL marketplace,” said Dr. Amanda Ross Edwards, an NC State professor. “Right now, these students are, depending on the state they’re in, making sure they don’t do something that would violate the NCAA rules.”

ECU athletics officials said standard rules would help to better regulate what they do now and in the future.

“A federal regulation would help compliant staff, administration, university entities as well as enforcement in how it needs to be enforced,” Keddie said. “I think that’s the best thing for federal legislation so we can all have the best rules for our student-athletes. NIL is here today, tomorrow and it’s the future. Our student-athletes are incredible, intelligent, young men and women.”