Apr 24, 2020 - Sports

NCAA moves closer to letting its athletes get paid

Illustration of football player on a field made of a huge dollar bill

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The NCAA is moving closer to allowing Division I athletes to earn money from their name, image and likeness (NIL) as early as next year.

Driving the news: Recommended rule changes will be reviewed by college sports administrators this week before being sent to the NCAA Board of Governors, which meets next Monday and Tuesday, AP's Ralph Russo reports.

Why it matters: "If adopted, the rules would allow athletes to make sponsorship and endorsement deals with all kinds of companies and third parties, from car dealerships to concert promoters to pizza shops, according to a person who has reviewed the recommendations," writes Russo.

  • "The recommendations also call for allowing athletes to sign autographs for money, sell their memorabilia, and be paid for personal appearances and working as an instructor in their sport."

The backdrop: California and Colorado have passed legislation to allow college athletes to earn endorsement money starting in 2023, and 32 other states have introduced similar bills, including one in Florida that would take effect next July.

  • Fearful that this patchwork of state laws will lead to competitive imbalance and regulatory chaos, the NCAA has asked Congress for help in creating a national standard.
  • The recommendations being reviewed this week come from a working group set up 11 months ago and led by Ohio State AD Gene Smith and Big East commissioner Val Ackerman.

The bottom line: The NCAA appears to have finally realized that there's no stopping this train and looks poised to pass sweeping reform, but as ESPN's Ivan Maisel puts it, "let's not confuse belated acceptance of responsibility with leadership."

Reproduced from Student Player; Cartogram: Axios Visuals
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