NCAA Allows Student-Athletes to Profit from Name, Image, and Likeness Rights

Nov 01

The National Collegiate Athletic Association or the NCAA has announced that its Board of Governors has voted unanimously to allow college athletes to gain profit from the use of their names, images, and likenesses.

With this, three different divisions of the NCAA have been ordered to “immediately consider updates to relevant bylaws and policies for the 21st century” so that athletes can make money while still retaining their amateur status.

The rules must be manufactured by January 2021.

The board cited guidelines to which the divisions must observe when updating their rules. Student-athletes, for example, must be “treated similarly” to non-athletes when it comes to earning money. They may not be paid particularly for their athletic performance or participation, though. Student-athletes are still considered as students, and not employees of the school.

Also of note is fairness and transparency. Although athletes would be allowed to make money, the rules must be created in such a way that money is not an incentive to “select, remain at, or transfer to” a school. Schools cannot be at an advantage in recruiting based on any kind of payment.

The NCAA’s ruling follows an identical law passed by the state of California a month ago. Governor Gavin Newsom inked the Fair Pay to Play Act, introduced by State Senators Steven Bradford and Nancy Skinner on September 30.

The law makes it legal for athletes at the state’s colleges and universities to earn money by selling the rights to their names, likenesses, and images. Student-athletes may also tap the services of agents, something that previously immediately rendered their amateur status null.

The day the Fair Pay to Play Act was inked by the governor, Senator Skinner commented on how it’s wrong that athletes, who are the “most responsible for creating the wealth” on behalf of college sports, do not get their share of the billions generated.

At least a dozen states have already had discussions regarding identical bills to the one passed in California. Last week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he backed one that was introduced in his state.

Lawmakers have also been working on legislation on the national level. Representative Mark Walker (R – N.C.) has a bill that would actually alter the tax code in such a way as to make the NCAA permit athletes to profit off of their names, images, and likenesses.