Apr 29, 2020 - Sports

NCAA backs allowing college athletes to be paid for names, images and likenesses

NCAA logo behind a student playing basketball

Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The NCAA's Board of Governors announced Wednesday that it supports rule changes that would allow student-athletes to receive compensation for their names, images and likenesses.

Yes, but: Don't expect a free market for student-athletes just yet. While the NCAA cleared the way to support third-party endorsements and other money-making opportunities, like social-media influencing and personal appearances, its announcement still leaves a number of questions moving forward.

  • The NCAA wants to ask Congress to back a federal law that would preempt piecemeal action by states on the issue — and codify that student-athletes aren't university employees.
  • It said that it does not want student-athletes' name, image or likeness to be used to support schools' recruiting or their boosters, which is a provision that could ultimately be impossible to enforce.
  • It also believes there are "legal hurdles" that would prevent student-athletes from making money on licensing for "group products" like video games.

The big picture: California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law last September that allowed the state's college athletes to accept endorsement deals by 2023, upending the decades-long precedent set by the NCAA.

  • The NCAA ultimately relented in October, taking its first vote to move toward student-athlete compensation.

What's next: The Board of Governors' recommendations will be submitted to the NCAA's three divisions, which will likely adopt the suggested changes moving into the 2021-2022 academic year.

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