Jun 30, 2021 - Sports

NCAA approves policy allowing athletes to profit off name, image, likeness

NCAA basketball game
Baylor Bears vs. the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament in April 2021. Photo: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Governance bodies in all three NCAA divisions on Wednesday approved an interim policy allowing college athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness (NIL).

Why it matters: The decision marks a seismic revamp of the NCAA's amateurism bylaws and allows athletes to begin profiting from their personal brands starting Thursday. It also comes just one day before NIL laws in at least eight states take effect.

  • The NCAA Division I recommended the change in policy on Monday.

The big picture: The interim policy will remain in place until new federal legislation is drafted or the NCAA creates new NIL rules.

  • Athletes can profit off their personal brands in activities consistent with the law of the state where the school is located, the NCAA said. "College athletes who attend a school in a state without an NIL law can engage in this type of activity without violating NCAA rules related to name, image and likeness."
  • All NIL activities should be reported to the athlete's school.
  • The policy "preserves the commitment to avoid pay-for-play and improper inducements tied to choosing to attend a particular school. Those rules remain in effect," the NCAA said.

What they're saying: NCAA president Mark Emmert called the decision "an important day for college athletes."

  • “With the variety of state laws adopted across the country, we will continue to work with Congress to develop a solution that will provide clarity on a national level," he said. "The current environment — both legal and legislative — prevents us from providing a more permanent solution and the level of detail student-athletes deserve."
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