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In the suburbs: International athletes can not take advantage of new opportunities NIL | Higher Education




When the news broke that the NCAA made history by adopting an interim policy that allowed college athletes to make money from their name, image, and resemblance on June 30, Missouri track and field athlete Atina Kamasi was thrilled. This had been a deal that college athletes had been waiting for for decades and the possibilities seemed endless.

I was like, Oh, god, it’s amazing to so many people. You know, a lot of international students are in different situations, Kamasi said. And then I go to compliance. So they are like, No, you can do nothing with it. I was like, what?

Serbian javelin thrower Atina Kamasi is defending the use of the image and similarity of her name

Serbian javelin thrower Atina Kamasi is defending her right to benefit from the use of her name, image and resemblance (NIL) as an international student and athlete at MU. The new NCAA policy interferes with international student visa regulations.

Compliance information that Kamas and other international athletes received told them that the new changes would interfere with a regulation on their student visas. Therefore, not all international athletes are allowed to make money from their name, image and likeness (NIL).

Immigration lawyer Mihaela Britt, who has over 17 years of experience working with international students, knows all things when it comes to the visa process for international athletes. Typically, international athletes come to the US with an F-1 student visa, which defines them as a non-immigrant pursuing a full course of study to achieve a specific educational or professional goal at an institution designated by the Department of National Security. Within the F-1 visa there are restrictions regarding the amount and types of employment that an international student can obtain during their stay in the US.

Because the purpose of an F-1 visa is to go to school, international students are usually allowed to work on campus during the semester for up to 20 hours per week and can work more than 20 during school holidays, Britt said in correspondence me email. In order for an international student to be employed by an organization outside their school, they will need special permission in the form of a work permit that may be authorized by the school under certain conditions or by United States Citizenship and Immigration .

These strict rules, as Britt said, not only deter athletes from NIL changes, but also the possibility of more revenue.

MU tennis player Vivien Abraham knows this well, as she started working the summer before the year of maturity. She spent three years of college without a job while in Missouri, working just two months at home in Hungary, the summer of her first year.

Hungarian tennis player Vivien Abraham has been influenced by immigration rules

Hungarian tennis player Vivien Abraham is affected by immigration regulations and cannot start her own business under the OPT visa while at MU.

It’s usually like 20 hours a week on paper, and then workouts, and then my school schedule, so I don’t think I could work another 10 hours a week if I wanted to, Abraham said.

Job restrictions do not only focus on how much students work, but can also affect the jobs that international students may have after graduation. If they choose to stay in the US, they are only allowed to find jobs that are specific to their specialty. Graduates are given the opportunity to work for one year in the US through an Optional Practical Training visa.

Immigration rules are written with the focus that these students are here only for their studies. While considered standard and rewarding practice to keep international students focused, heavy regulations are creating a gray area.

I am a graduate in journalism, so I can do everything that is like advertising-media-journalism, or not, but if I am passionate about something like I am interested in nutrition, (in) eventually becoming a dietitian, I can not start my business under the OPT Visa, said Abraham. How many people at the age of 18 know what they want to become? It is simply a kind of deprivation of this freedom.

As resident athletes found themselves in the same boat, not even having time to add a job to their busy schedules, the NIL change was a turning point.

International students, whether athletes or non-athletes, bring billions of dollars into the economy, Kamasi said. So to have the limitations we make, it can be a lot. One of the things I have to think about every day is the things I may or may not do.

While their fellow athletes, like offensive player Drake Heismeyer, make deals with the NIL one after another, international athletes would risk deportation if they tried their luck as brand ambassadors. There are more than 2,000 international students at MU, and a number of them are scattered throughout athletics.

Britt has kept her ear on the road to see if there is a way to pay international students through the NIL. The key is categorization.

If the activity is considered to be employment, even as self-employment, it will fall under the rules of F-1 student status, Britt said. Can NIL-related payment be considered a passive income payment, or can NIL be seen as intellectual property? At this time, I have not seen any direct guidance from USCIS (Citizenship and Immigration Services) or the Student or Visitor Exchange Program (SEVP), the two major law enforcement agencies regarding international students.

The Department of Homeland Security is not yet sure what the NIL changes will mean for international athletes under federal immigration law. It is taking into account factors such as the nature of NIL activities, student immigration status and specific provisions of state, federal and NCAA rules. Meanwhile, all international athletes like Kamas and Abraham can do is wait.

I mean, it’s just sad. You just feel like everyone is so excited about it, especially when you were really in the middle of summer, Kamasi said. Everyone is jumping on it. And you just stand aside and watch as things pass by you.

Atina Kamasi practices javelin throwing with her coach Brett Halter and the MU team

Atina Kamasi practices javelin throwing with her coach Brett Halter and the MU team on November 16 at the Audrey J. Walton Stadium in Colombia.




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