NCAA to allow college athletes to profit from name, image and likeness

Ruben Hill
April 30, 2020

The NCAA's top governing body said Wednesday it supports a proposal to allow college athletes to sign endorsement contracts and receive payments for other work, provided that the schools they attend are not involved in any of the payments.

The plan includes student-athletes being able to receive compensation for third-party endorsement deals, social-media activity, or side businesses.

Schools are strictly prohibited from paying student-athletes for use of their name, image and/or likeness. The working group cited the absence of a third party to negotiate those deals on the athletes' collective behalf.

October 31, 2020: Each of the three NCAA division levels should have final legislation drafted to update NIL rules.

Moving forward, the Board of Governors has instructed each of the NCAA's three divisions - Division I, II and III - to move toward drafting a specific rule structure with the goal of formally adopting new legislation in January ahead of the 2021-22 academic year.

The board is requiring guardrails around any future name, image and likeness activities. Athletes can identify themselves by name and school, but cannot use school, team or conference markings or identification.

Many college gridiron coaches earn salaries higher than their counterparts in the professional NFL.

-Ensuring student-athletes are treated similarly to nonathlete students unless a compelling reason exists to differentiate.

-Ensuring rules are transparent, focused and enforceable, and facilitating fair and balanced competition.

Making clear that compensation for athletics performance or participation is impermissible.

Reaffirming that student-athletes are students first and not employees of the university.

Enhancing principles of diversity, inclusion and gender equity.

Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith said that those rules could include efforts to differentiate between payments in line with market value and payments specifically designed as recruiting inducements, a task he acknowledged could prove hard.

The board relied on a comprehensive report from the Federal and State Legislation Working Group to inform its recommendations. Group co-chair and Ohio State Athletics Director Gene Smith said the NCAA still plans to adhere to this timeline, and the changes to NIL access will be made no later than January 2021.

"The board's decision today (April 28) provides further guidance to each division as they create and adopt appropriate rules changes". Working group co-chair Val Ackerman and Big East commissioner said the group licensing required for student-athletes to appear in video games is largely unworkable because collegiate athletes don't have a union or bargaining unit. "In addition, we are mindful of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on higher education, college sports and students at large". Its players will benefit from these new rules, just like other popular programs in college towns.

-Safeguarding the nonemployment status of student-athletes. "We will do so in a way that underscores the Association's mission to oversee and protect college athletics and college athletes on a national scale".

-Upholding the NCAA's values, including diversity, inclusion and gender equity.

The organization's move, marking a significant reversal of its prior policy, comes after the NCAA faced increased pressure late previous year from lawmakers across the United States intent on following California's lead by dismantling compensation prohibitions that now apply to more than 450,000 student athletes in the US.

"It's clear we need Congress' help in all of this", NCAA president Mark Emmert told reporters.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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