NCAA approves name, image and likeness for college athletes

NCAA approves name, image and likeness for college athletes
July 07
11:17 2021

It has been talked about for several years and now the NCAA has removed restrictions for college athletes to earn money from their name, image and likeness (NIL). This is not the wholesale free-for-all that many were hoping for; however, this is definitely a step in the right direction.

This is an interim policy that is intended to cover athletes nationwide and will last until federal legislation is passed or a permanent NCAA rule can be created. It was approved by the NCAA Division I Board of Governors following a formal recommendation from the Division I Council.

“This is an important day for college athletes since they all are now able to take advantage of name, image and likeness opportunities,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement. “With the variety of state laws adopted across the country, we will continue to work with Congress to develop a solution that will provide clarity on a national level. The current environment – both legal and legislative – prevents us from providing a more permanent solution and the level of detail student-athletes deserve.”

Here are the guidelines for college athletes, recruits, their families and member schools:

*Individuals can engage in NIL activities that are consistent with the law of the state where the school is located. Colleges and universities may be a resource for state law questions.

*College athletes who attend a school in a state without NIL law can engage in this type of activity without violating NCAA rules related to name, image and likeness.

*Individuals can use a professional services provider for NIL activities.

*Student-athletes should report NIL activities consistent with state law or school and conference requirements to their school.

Basically, under this new policy, student-athletes will be allowed to engage in activities such as endorsement deals, compensation for appearances and autograph signings, leveraging social media for pay and getting compensated for coaching or consulting. It does not permit the schools from paying their athletes any sort of payment, however.

“Today, NCAA members voted to allow college athletes to benefit from name, image and likeness opportunities, no matter where their school is located,” said Division I Board of Directors chair Denise Trauth, president at Texas State. “With this interim solution in place, we will continue to work with Congress to adopt federal legislation to support student-athletes.”

To be honest, I am surprised the NCAA moved so quickly to find a solution to a problem that has existed since football and basketball became big moneymakers for the NCAA, which is classified as a nonprofit organization.  The billion dollar a year industry that is the NCAA has looked rather hypocritical for quite a long time by not allowing their athletes to benefit from their own likeness, but the schools and NCAA can.

I still believe that the athletes, especially in the revenue sports, should get a cut of the pie that these schools and NCAA bring in annually, considering it’s their literal blood, sweat and tears that is bringing in the revenue in the first place. Even though the players are not being paid, they can now cash in on their own names and not be penalized for it.

I also read that high school students are also allowed the same type of NIL opportunities without impacting their eligibility. These opportunities cannot be used as a recruiting inducement or as a substitute for pay-for-play.

“The new policy preserves the fact that college sports are not pay-for-play,” said Division II Presidents Council chair Sandra Jordan. “It also reinforces key principles of fairness and integrity across the NCAA and maintains rules prohibiting improper recruiting inducements. It’s important any new rules maintain these principles.”

“One of the most distinctive things about college sports is this whole recruitment process,” Emmert told the AP.  “The whole notion of trying to maintain as fair a playing field as you can is really central to all this. And using sponsorship arrangements, in one way or another, as recruiting inducements is something everybody is deeply concerned about.”

I am glad they did not open the floodgates and let this process benefit the schools that could offer the most financially to the student-athlete. I will be interested to see how the flow of student athletes moves in the next few years. Will they continue to flock to the high-profile teams, or will the smaller schools get a bigger share of the top players?

For many student-athletes across the country, this is a great day. Many of them have a large social media presence and now they can benefit from that. Also, many student-athletes struggle to buy the basic needs, because their full scholarships do not cover everything they need to survive. Now they can make some money to take better care of themselves.  

There will need to be adjustments to the system as time passes to make sure it’s not being abused by agents or players, but all in all, I see mostly positives from this. 

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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