INDIANAPOLIS, IN (CelebrityAccess) — In a dramatic about-face on Tuesday, the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s governing board voted unanimously to permit student athletes to profit from the use of their name, image, and likeness.
While the board has affirmed the change, each of the NCAA’s three divisions will still be required to develop their own set of rules and guidelines and implement changes to their bylaws.
“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” said Michael V. Drake, chair of the board and president of The Ohio State University. “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 the full cost of attendance and guaranteed scholarships.”
The board called for a slate of specific changes that 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.
The working group will continue to gather feedback through April on how best to respond to the state and federal legislative environment and to refine its recommendations on the principles and regulatory framework. The board asked each division to create any new rules beginning immediately, but no later than January 2021.
“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,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “The board’s action today creates a path to enhance opportunities for student-athletes while ensuring they compete against students and not professionals.”
The decision is a major change for the NCAA which has previously barred student athletes from profiting off of the use of their name and likeness from including licensing and endorsement deals.
The decision follows the passing of the Fair Pay to Play law in California that allows student athletes to be paid for endorsement deals and to hire talent agents.