NCAA Board Votes to Allow Athlete Compensation

Brett Friedlander

Bowing to public and political pressure, the NCAA's Board of Governors has voted to allow college athletes to be compensated for third-party endorsements, along with other opportunities both related to and separate from athletics.

Under the new name, image and likeness rules, which still must be formally adopted by each of the NCAA's three divisions and won't go into effect uintil the 2021-22 academic year, athletes in all sports will be able to accept payment for things such as social media, businesses they have started and personal appearances.

While athletes will permitted to identify themselves by sport and school, the use of conference and school logos, trademarks or other involvement would not be allowed. Schools are still not permitted to pay their athletes for any name, image and likeness activities.

Other restrictions include prohibitions on name, image and likeness activities that would be considered pay for play; no school or conference involvement; no use of name, image and likeness for recruiting by schools or boosters; and the regulation of agents and advisors.

The Board of Governors based its recommendations on a comprehensive report from the NCAA's Federal and State Legislation Working Group, which was formed amid pressure from Congress and 16 states that have either passed or have pending legislation that would allow college athletes to accept payment for their name, image and likeness.

“Throughout our efforts to enhance support for college athletes, the NCAA has relied upon considerable feedback from and the engagement of our members, including numerous student-athletes, from all three divisions,” Michael V. Drake, chair of the board and president of Ohio State, said in a statement Wednesday announcing the groundbreaking move. “Allowing promotions and third-party endorsements is uncharted territory.”

“The evolving legal and legislative landscape around these issues not only could undermine college sports as a part of higher education but also significantly limit the NCAA’s ability to meet the needs of college athletes moving forward. We must continue to engage with Congress in order to secure the appropriate legal and legislative framework to modernize our rules around name, image and likeness. We will do so in a way that underscores the Association’s mission to oversee and protect college athletics and college athletes on a national scale.”

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