A few weeks ago, California legislators voted to allow NCAA athletes to make money off of their image, name and likeness. Some people, including writers on this site, speculated a state as large as California changing their rules would force the hand of the NCAA:

“The state has 20 Division I schools and many of them are already desirable destinations for high profile athletes. Other states are not going to stand for California having a huge competitive advantage in recruiting. So, this could lead to other states passing copy-cat bills. The NCAA could play hardball and ban the schools from those states from competition but that could unintentionally lead to the demise of the NCAA altogether depending on how many states would adopt such a law.”

As was predicted, the NCAA did cave. The NCAA’s movers and shakers voted unanimously to start the process of changing its rules around players profiting from their popularity. This change will allow student athletes to profit from their names, images and likenesses.

The finer points of what will and will not be allowed are still being worked out. In a press release the NCAA said that athletes will have the opportunity to benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness in a “manner consistent with the collegiate model.”

The guidelines provided for the rule change include:

  • Assure student-athletes are treated similarly to non-athlete students unless a compelling reason exists to differentiate.
  • Maintain the priorities of education and the collegiate experience to provide opportunities for student-athlete success.
  • Ensure rules are transparent, focused and enforceable and facilitate fair and balanced competition.
  • Make clear the distinction between collegiate and professional opportunities.
  • Make clear that compensation for athletics performance or participation is impermissible.
  • Reaffirm that student-athletes are students first and not employees of the university.
  • Enhance principles of diversity, inclusion and gender equity.
  • Protect the recruiting environment and prohibit inducements to select, remain at, or transfer to a specific institution.

This a big deal for athletes in theory but this essentially will only matter to extremely high-profile college players in money making sports who can command money for endorsements and sponsorships in practice as most scholarship athletes are not worth any money above their room, tuition and board.Read the full press release here.


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