Every college athlete in the United States can now make money from endorsements beginning Thursday.
The NCAA’s board of directors decided Wednesday to officially suspend rules preventing athletes from selling the rights to their names, images and likenesses, ESPN reported.
In a news release, the NCAA said the governing bodies in all three divisions adopted a uniform policy for all incoming and current athletes.
“This is an important day for college athletes since they all are now able to take advantage of name, image and likeness opportunities,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement. “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. The current environment — both legal and legislative — prevents us from providing a more permanent solution and the level of detail student-athletes deserve.”
The decision comes a day before several states will enact laws that make it illegal for schools to follow the NCAA’s longstanding rules that prohibit athletes from making money, ESPN reported.
According to the NCAA’s new policy:
- Individuals can engage in name, image and likeness (NIL) activities that are consistent with the law of the state where the school is located. Colleges and universities are responsible for determining whether those activities are consistent with state law.
- 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.
- Individuals can use a professional services provider for NIL activities.
- Student-athletes should report NIL activities consistent with state law or school and conference requirements to their school.
“Today, NCAA members voted to allow college athletes to benefit from name, image and likeness opportunities, no matter where their school is located,” Division I Board of Directors chair Denise Trauth, the president at Texas State., said in a statement. “With this interim solution in place, we will continue to work with Congress to adopt federal legislation to support student-athletes.”
NCAA rules that prevent schools from paying players directly will remain in place, ESPN reported. The board directed schools to be sure that payments to athletes are not expressly for their athletic achievements and to ensure that no payments are used as recruiting inducements.
Eight states were already going to give athletes the chance to earn money whether the NCAA approved or not, The New York Times reported. A Supreme Court ruling last week ruling left the NCAA more vulnerable to antitrust cases over athletes’ payments, the newspaper reported.
The decision comes after some athletes already began making plans to cash in on their image.
Jordan Bohannon, a men’s basketball player at the University of Iowa, announced plans for an apparel line that will debut on Thursday, the Times reported. University of Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz posted a video with his own personal logo, the newspaper reported.
Several other high-profile athletes are expected to announce new partnerships and deals beginning Thursday morning, ESPN reported.
“The new policy preserves the fact college sports are not pay-for-play,” Division II Presidents Council chair Sandra Jordan, chancellor at the University of South Carolina Aiken, said in a statement. “It also reinforces key principles of fairness and integrity across the NCAA and maintains rules prohibiting improper recruiting inducements. It’s important any new rules maintain these principles.”
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