FILE - In this March 14, 2012, file photo, a player runs across the NCAA logo during practice at the NCAA tournament college basketball in Pittsburgh. The NCAA Board of Governors took the first step Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, toward allowing athletes to cash in on their fame, voting unanimously to clear the way for the amateur athletes to "benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness." (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

NCAA Opens the Door for Players to Profit off Name and Likeness

Change is coming to the NCAA. The Board of Governors voted unanimously to start the process of implementing policies to allow student-athletes to profit off their name and likeness. Above all, these changes will be carried out, “in a manner consistent with the collegiate model.”

Next Steps

With the decision, the NCAA is instructing its three divisions to start discussing changes to the current rules of student athlete compensation. They included some guidelines for these committees to consider when discussing these changes. Most importantly, NCAA doesn’t want make student athletes feel like employees of the university. Rather, they want to have a, “clear distinction between college and professional opportunities.”

The NCAA made other recommendations to those who will be forming the new policies.

Some of these include:

  • compensation for an athlete’s performance is impermissible
  • protect the recruiting environment
  • create rules that promote fair and balanced competition

As stated above, student athletes won’t be allowed to get compensation for on-the-field performance. Instead, student athletes can sign endorsement deals with companies while in college. This is the biggest potential change to the rules.

The goal of these proposed rule changes is to not create a competitive imbalance. The NCAA wants the rules to be, “transparent, focused and enforceable.”

Why Now?

The NCAA has been steadfast in maintaining a sense of amateurism in college sports. Despite this, they are now opening their minds to the possibility of a change in their decades long stance. Probably, the legislation in California and mounting pressure from other states could’ve been a determining factor in this decision. First, California passed a bill that allows student athletes in the state to hire agents and use their name and likeness for profit. The bill also prohibits the NCAA from ruling those student athletes ineligible for competition. The NCAA opposed this decision in California by saying they would rule all players in the state ineligible.

After the decision in California, other states started to look into the matter. After attending the Florida-Auburn game early in October, Florida governor Ron DeSantis announced his desire to see a similar bill passed in Florida. Lawmakers in New York and South Carolina introduced similar bills to their state decision makers.

At the federal level, U.S. Representative Mark Walker from North Carolina proposed a change to the federal tax code. This would create an unrestricted market for student athletes to profit off of their name and likeness through endorsement deals.

What Next?

The decision made by the NCAA gives the organization time to flesh out any possible rule changes before any state legislation is implemented. Each of the three divisions must present new rules by Jan. 2021, according to the NCAA.

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