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NCAA Favors Changes to Name, Image and Likeness Rules

by on April 29, 2020 3:50 PM

The NCAA's Board of Governors announced on Wednesday that it supports rule changes that would allow for student-athletes to receive compensation for third-party endorsements both related to and separate from athletics.

The board also noted that it supports similar compensation for related revenues generated from social media, businesses student-athletes have started and personal appearances within the guiding principles originally outlined by the board in October.

While student-athletes would be permitted to identify themselves by sport and school, the use of conference and school logos, trademarks or other involvement would not be allowed. The board emphasized that at no point should a university or college pay student-athletes for name, image and likeness activities.

“Throughout our efforts to enhance support for college athletes, the NCAA has relied upon considerable feedback from and the engagement of our members, including numerous student-athletes, from all three divisions,” said Michael V. Drake, chair of the board and president of Ohio State. “Allowing promotions and third-party endorsements is uncharted territory.”

While the change is not official until it is adopted and processes through the various rules-making portions of the NCAA, the divisions are expected to adopt new name, image and likeness rules by January to take effect at the start of the 2021-22 academic year.

Much of the guidance relevant to the implementation of the rule has yet to be fully announced, although the NCAA emphasized that student athletes would be required to be paid an appropriate rate for their services and that there will be consequences for athletes and schools that do not meet disclosure standards.

In addition, while the NCAA stated that no limits are set for the amount a student-athlete could make, there would be caps for the types of endorsements and the value of those endorsements.

The NCAA is also looking for additional assistance from Congress relative to various details and legal matters surrounding the changes, but NCAA President Mart Emmert said on Wednesday that congressional assistance was not an absolute requirement for changes to take place. The NCAA has long fought to be exempt from potential antitrust law violations.

The ruling does not mark the return of the widely popular NCAA football and basketball video games as those licensing deals — in the current environment — would effectively require a player's union. No such union current exists among NCAA athletes.

"It was the group’s conclusion that group licenses, which would combine school trademarks with student-athlete [name, image and likenesses] in products like video games, replica jerseys and trading cards collections are unworkable in college sports,” Big East commissioner and NIL working group co-chairperson Val Ackerman said during a news conference Wednesday. “Largely because of the absence of the recognized bargaining agent to manage the curve of group NIL use on behalf of the student-athlete. The creation of a legal group license structure is a topic that may also be suitable for congressional intervention.”

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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