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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

Go deeper

NY declares state of emergency amid concerns over Omicron COVID variant

Governor Kathy Hochul makes an announcement about a new plan transforming Penn Station on Nov. 3, 2021. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday declared a state of emergency amid rising COVID-19 cases and the newly-identified Omicron variant of the virus.

Driving the news: The declaration enables the state to acquire supplies to fight a potential surge in cases, increase hospital capacity and combat potential staff shortages, NBC's local affiliate reports.

35 mins ago - Health

First cases of COVID-19 Omicron variant discovered in United Kingdom

People wearing masks walk in London on Nov. 25. Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Two cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant were detected in the United Kingdom overnight, the U.K. Health Security Agency announced Saturday.

Why it matters: The discovery comes as the world scrambles to respond to concerns over the new variant, discovered in South Africa earlier this week.

Updated 1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Americans are super-sizing their holiday travel

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans are rushing back into holiday travel, and many are taking even longer trips now than they did before the pandemic began.

The big picture: After skipping Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings last year, many people are eager to maximize this year's celebrations with friends and family. And flexible remote working arrangements make that easier than ever.