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NCAA Meeting to Discuss Paying Athletes

The NCAA is formally meeting to discuss allowing athletes to benefit from their name and likeness. This comes after California and numerous other states have proposed bills that would allow athletes to receive endorsement money.

The meeting will take place in Atlanta where the NCAA Board of Governors will hear a report from a committee hired to look into the issue.

Pressure Building

The NCAA was put under pressure following California’s passing of the ‘Fair Pay to Play’ Act in late September. It’s only a matter of time before the NCAA is forced to change. The pushback has only continued to increase. Multiple other states, including Florida, have proposed bills similar to California.

The effort to change the NCAA’s archaic ways are being led by Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith and Big East commission Val Ackerman. While the two men are leading the charge, it is ultimately up to the Board of Governors.

The primary concern from the NCAA is the blurring of the amateur and professional line. One of the staples of the NCAA is the clear distinction between college sports and the pros. However, given that the NCAA generates over a billion dollars a year, they themselves have blurred that line. This is why there are so many proponents of allowing college athletes to receive financial compensation.

If the pressure from the states wasn’t enough, Congress is now stepping in. Ohio Congressman Anthony Gonzalez proposed a law that would allow college athletes to receive endorsement money. Gonzalez, a former Ohio State wide receiver in the mid-2000s, has support for the proposal. North Carolina representative Mark Walker held a round table discussion earlier this month.

The NCAA’s Concerns

There are two primary fears the NCAA currently has in the evolving landscape. The first is if individual states pass separate bills that are all slightly different from each other. This would create regulation issues and possible recruiting unbalances. Secondly, the NCAA doesn’t want endorsement companies having free range over young athletes.

For example, if a school has a Gatorade sponsorship, an athlete wouldn’t be able to take an endorsement from Powerade, as the two would contradict. Also, the concern of companies taking advantage of young athletes and pulling them into bad endorsement decisions that could have long term ramifications.

Any final decision made by the NCAA will take place in April of 2020 when the NCAA meets to approve rule changes.

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