NCAA to start process of allowing athletes to benefit from NIL

Amid extreme external pressures, state legislation, committees and commissions galore and the realities of a greatly-altered sports/media landscape, the NCAA announced that it has started the process to allow athletes to benefit from their name, image and likenesses.

According to a statement, the NCAA’s Board of Governors have voted “unanimously to permit students participating in athletics the opportunity to benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness in a manner consistent with the collegiate model.”

For the time being, though, it’s unclear what these updates could actually look like — or how athletes could receive some form of financial compensation for NIL.

Michael Drake, the chair of the board and president of The Ohio State University, says the NCAA “must embrace change.”

The name of the game is modernization. That “modernization” will land inside the following guidelines, according to the release:

  • 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.

The NCAA’s working group will continue to gather more information and feedback on this topic through the month of April 2020 as it plans to respond to legislative bodies — federal and state-level — and plan recommendations for a regulatory framework.

Each division has been tasked by the board to create new rule beginning immediately — and no later than April 2021.


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