How Will NCAA Vote on Athletes Compensation Affect NC State?

Brett Friedlander

The NCAA's Board of Governors on Wednesday announced that it has voted to allow college athletes to be compensated for third-party endorsements, along with other opportunities such as social media, businesses they have started and personal appearances.

So does that mean Wendell Murphy can now pay Braxton Beverly to do commercials for pork products? Or D.J. Funderburk can accept a new 4x4 because he "got off his keister" and did an endorsement for John Heister Chevrolet? Or that you'll be able to play as Zonovan Knight or Payton Wilson on an college football video game?

A lot of details are still to be determined between now and the 2012-22 academic year, when the new legislation is scheduled to take effect once it is formally ratified.

But this much is clear: The landscape of college sports is about to change and change dramatically now that the NCAA has bowed to public and politcal pressure and has decided to allow it's "student-athletes" to earn money based on their name, image and likeness.

On a conference call Wednesday morning, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith -- co-chair of the NCAA working group whose recommendations led to the rules change -- said that "there is no cap" on how much an athlete can receive.

There are, however, certain "guardrails" that have been put into place to try and keep the free market from becoming a complete free-for-all.

For instance, while athletes can now identify themselves by sport and school, the use of conference and school logos or trademarks are not allowed. And it's still prohibited for schools to pay their athletes for any name, image and likeness activities.

That means it's not permissible for, say quarterback Devin Leary, to be paid by the athletic department for going on television to shill for Wolfpack football season tickets or charge for autographs at State's annual preseason Meet the Pack event. He can, however, hold up a can of Red Bull, identify himself as State's starting quarterback and gush about his drinking the stuff gives him wings.

Meet the pack day autographs
NC State athletics photo

He can't however, do promotional activities for alcohol and tobacco products or sports gambling, since they are "inconsistent with the NCAA membership's values.” 

As for Funderburk -- or anyone else, for that matter -- driving away in a new car for doing an advertisement for a local dealership, that's apparently legal so long as the owner of the dealership isn't deemed to be associated with the school.

So that would rule out anyone plugging pork products for Murphy. whose name is on the football center at Carter-Finley Stadium.

Similarly, coaches and boosters are not permitted to use an athletes potential for earnings as an inducement in recruiting or play "any role in locating, arranging or facilitating endorsement opportunities.”

Because of existing licensing agreements and other contracts, it's unlikely that players will be compensated for sales of replica apparel bearing their name and number and even less likely that they'll be able to negotiate their own shoe deal.

And if you're hoping that the new name, image and likeness rules will mean the return of the popular EA Sports College Football video game, don't hold your breath since that would involve "group licensing" and according to Big East commissioner and working group co-chair Val Ackerman, group licensing group is “unworkable in college sports.”

NCAA Football 13 NC State

On the plus side, athletes that have businesses can now promote them without fear of losing their NCAA eligibility and getting their school in trouble -- a rule that came along too late to help out former Wolfpack defensive end Deonte Holden and his line of designer clothing, but will be beneficial for others like him.

Given all those guidelines, which current Wolfpack athletes might benefit most from the new rules?

It's far to early to tell since many of State's current stars will be finished with school by 2021-22 and their younger counterparts won't start to raise their profiles until sports start back up (hopefully) in the fall.

Other than the sophomore football players mentioned earlier -- Leary, Knight and Wilson -- the most obvious candidate that comes to mind is women's basketball player Elissa Cunane.

The 6-foot-5 All-ACC center will be a senior in 2021-22 and given her current career trajectory, projects to be an established star both locally and on the national stage. Not only is she a dominant player on the court, but her outgoing personality -- reflected by her nickname "Big Smile" -- figures to make her a marketer's dream.

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