NCAA players will now be allowed to profit from their name, image, and likeness

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The NCAA, the governing body of collegiate sports, will now allow players to earn compensation through profiting off their name, image, and likeness.

Michael Drake, NCAA board chair, said on the new policies, “We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes…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 NCAA voted unanimously to approve these changes on Tuesday. A more detailed timeline and further description on how NCAA players will be compensated is still being fleshed out. These changes come after California passed a new law, the Fair Pay to Play Act, making it illegal for schools to ban players from accepting compensation from advertising agencies or from seeking professional agents. This law will allow these students for the first time to get endorsement deals and access other compensation from their work on collegiate teams. The Fair Pay to Play Act goes into effect in 2023. The NCAA, although beginning to change some of their own policies about this, has been outspoken in their view that the Fair Pay to Play Act is unconstitutional.

ESPN reports, “The board members said in a release Tuesday that all changes should make sure student-athletes have the same opportunities to make money as all other students, maintain the priorities of education and the collegiate experience, and ensure that rules are “transparent, focused and enforceable” and do not create a competitive imbalance. The board wants each division to implement new rules by January 2021.”

A dozen other states have expressed intentions to explore enacting similar laws to California’s Fair Pay to Play Act. These laws and changes mark a significant shift away from the NCAA’s prior stance on prohibiting college athletes from profiting in any way outside of scholarships and school related funding. On Monday, prior to the NCAA’s decision, the NFL Players Association and National College Players Association announced they are looking at ways in which their players could profit off their names and likenesses.

How will these new policies help student athletes reap the benefits of their work? Will these regulations assist student athletes in having more decision making power over their collegiate athlete careers and the organizations that govern them?

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