NCAA Proceeding With Plan to Allow Athletes to Profit for Use of Name, Image and Likeness

The NCAA announced that its top governing board voted unanimously Tuesday to begin the process of giving student-athletes “the opportunity to benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness in a manner consistent with the collegiate model.”

The board directed the three separate divisions of the organization to immediately begin figuring out how to update their rules in a way that maintains a distinction between college and professional sports.

The board members further stated that all changes should make sure student-athletes have the same opportunities to make money as all other students, while maintaining the priorities of education and the collegiate experience, and ensure that rules are “transparent, focused and enforceable” and do not create a competitive imbalance.

“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” Michael V. Drake, board chair and Ohio State University president, said in a statement. “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 full cost of attendance and guaranteed scholarships.”

The board’s vote came after California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law in September a measure allowing college athletes in his state to profit from their names, images and likenesses.

Illinois lawmakers also were considering similar legislation.

An NCAA working group will continue to solicit feedback through April and eventually refine recommendations on how to respond to the state and federal regulatory environment. Each of the three divisions must create new rules no later than Jan. 2021, the NCAA said.

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