NCAA Board of Governors approve student-athlete endorsements

U.S. & World

FILE – In this Wednesday, March 18, 2015 file photo, The NCAA logo is on the court as work continues at The Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. Imagine an NCAA Tournament with no fans in the arenas. What normally would be thought an impossibility isn’t so far-fetched as the United States and the rest of the world attempt to contain the spread of the new coronavirus. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — NCAA Board of Governors approves allowing endorsements for student-athletes.

The NCAA says it will soon implement a significant rule change, allowing student-athletes to make money for endorsements, a major change in the classic definition of amateurism by the NCAA.

The NCAA Board of Governors announced its decision Wednesday morning, a decision which will allow NCAA athletes to receive compensation for the use of their name, image and likeness. The Board’s recommendations are expected to be adopted in January of next year, with the intent for the rules to take effect ahead of the 2021-2022 NCAA academic year. Ohio State President Dr. Michael Drake and OSU Athletic Director Gene Smith both serve on the committee.

In recent months the NCAA has faced increased pressure to change its rules as state governments, such as California, have passed legislation allowing college students within the state to receive money for endorsements. The NCAA says athletes will be permitted to identify themselves by their name and their school, but they will not be allowed to use school logos or trademarks in the endorsements. Schools will not be permitted to pay athletes for the same purpose.

 The NCAA says it continues to ban “pay-to-play” situations where recruits receive money or other benefits in exchange for signing with a school, and student-athletes will not be paid by member schools.  Smith says schools must educate students about the potential ramifications of accepting endorsement money, including potential loss of eligibility for scholarships, pell grants, etc. Smith says at this point there’s no limit to the amount of money athletes could potentially receive.

 The rule change will face some hurdles and the NCAA says it will seek oversight from Congress in the implementation of the rules. Among the most pressing issues is how to determine fair market value for athletes’ endorsements, in particular with social media where value of posts can vary significantly, and how to enforce oversight to ensure schools are competing in an equal marketplace. Also of note, how athletes will be permitted to seek guidance on how to manage endorsement opportunities and how agents or representatives could be involved. Among the issues the NCAA hopes to address with Congress is establishing a “safe harbor” for the NCAA to be protected against lawsuits for NLI-related issues. If income levels are capped for athletes it could create federal antitrust concerns.

 NCAA President Mark Emmert says rules concerning agents and how Congress could intervene remain under consideration and will continue for the months ahead.

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