SGV Tribune

NCAA announces support for athletes being compensated for name, image and likeness

The announcement comes eight months after California first passed its NIL bill.

After years of debate and months of state governments pressuring the NCAA into acting first, collegiate sports is modernizing.

The NCAA announced on Wednesday that its Board of Governors supports rule changes that would allow student-athletes the ability to receive compensation for their name, image and likeness.

The rule changes would allow athletes to be compensated for third-party endorsements, in addition to “social media, businesses they have started and personal appearances.” Athletes would be allowed to identify themselves by school and sport, but could not appear with school or conference logos.

The goal is for these rules to be formalized in January so that they can be enacted for the 2021-22 academic year. Each of the NCAA’s three divisions has been tasked with drafting its own set of rules for name, image and likeness.

“Throughout our efforts to enhance support for college athletes, the NCAA has relied upon considerable feedback from and the engagement of our members, including numerous student-athletes, from all three divisions,” said Michael V. Drake, chair of the board and president of Ohio State, in a statement. “Allowing promotions and third-party endorsements is uncharted territory.”

The issue of student-athletes being able to profit off their own name, image and likeness gained momentum in September, when California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act. It allowed college athletes in the state the ability to sign endorsement deals starting in 2023 without losing their NCAA eligibility or scholarships.

That put a timer on the NCAA, one soon exacerbated by other state governments passing their own name, image and likeness bills after California.

California state Senator Nancy Skinner, who first introduced the Fair Pay to Play Act, released a statement Wednesday cautiously celebrating the NCAA’s announcement.

“College athletes are on their way to making money off their name, image, and likeness — just like all other Americans can,” Skinner stated. “The devil will be in the details. Yet no matter how you cut it, this represents a landmark change. A year ago, no one would have expected the NCAA to move definitively toward giving college athletes their NIL rights.”

The NCAA stated that it will continue to “engage” Congress on creating laws that would allow the NCAA to oversee name, image and likeness issues at a nationally scale and not allow states to have differing rules surrounding the issue.

“We must continue to engage with Congress in order to secure the appropriate legal and legislative framework to modernize our rules around name, image and likeness,” Drake stated. “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.”

In its statement, the NCAA said that the Board of Governors is “requiring guardrails” that would include no NIL activities that cross over into pay for play, no use of NIL for recruiting by schools or boosters and regulating the use of agents in NIL negotiations.