INDIANAPOLIS – The NCAA’s Board of Governors voted unanimously on Tuesday to allow student-athletes to benefit from the “use of their name, image and likeness,” the organization announced in a news release.
Any bylaws updates would apply to athletes in all three NCAA divisions. The board asked each division to begin to draw up the new rules beginning immediately but no later than January 2021.
“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” said Michael V. Drake, chairman of the board and president of Ohio State. “Additional flexibility in this area can and must continue to support college sports as a part of higher education. This modernization for the future is a natural extension of the numerous steps NCAA members have taken in recent years to improve support for student-athletes, including full cost of attendance and guaranteed scholarships.”
The news released did not specify how changes would be implemented but said the following areas are among those that should be addressed.
–Assure student-athletes are treated similarly to non-athlete students unless a compelling reason exists to differentiate.
–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 athletic performance or participation is impermissible.
–Reaffirm that student-athletes are students first and not employees of the university.
–Protect the recruiting environment and prohibit inducements to select, remain at, or transfer to a specific institution.
“As a national governing body, the NCAA is uniquely positioned to modify its rules to ensure fairness and a level playing field for student-athletes,” said Mark Emmert, the NCAA president. “The board’s action today creates a path to enhance opportunities for student-athletes while ensuring they compete against students and not professionals.”
The board’s action was based on recommendations from the NCAA Board of Governors Federal and State Legislation Working Group, which includes presidents, commissioners, athletics directors, administrators and student-athletes.
Last month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law that would allow student-athletes in the state, beginning in 2023, to profit form their own name, image and likeness. Several states have launched similar discussions, including Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis last week endorsed a proposal to pay athletes that could take effect as early as July 2020.
–Field Level Media