NCAA Board Opens Pathway To Athletes Earning Compensation

The ruling by the board opens up a pathway to athletes getting paid for their name, image and likeness
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The NCAA Board of Governors announced it will support rule changes that allow student-athletes to receive compensation for third-party endorsements for their name, image and likeness.

It is a complicated issue that will not go into effect until the 2021-22 school year at the earliest, but this ruling means it will happen in the near future.

Here are some important aspects of the decision from the NCAA release:

“While student-athletes would be permitted to identify themselves by sport and school, the use of conference and school logos, trademarks or other involvement would not be allowed. The board emphasized that at no point should a university or college pay student-athletes for name, image and likeness activities.”

This is essentially a work-around of paying athletes. It means that outside entities will get to choose who they do or don’t want to pay, and since the NCAA and institutions aren’t the ones making that decision they not only have to foot the bill, they can’t be challenged legally for not paying all athletes, regardless of gender.

The next step is the rules committees at the Division I, Division II and Division III level will have to determine specific rules and guidelines. The board provided their own guidelines that will be used to try to reign in this being used as nothing more than a recruiting tool.

While “admirable,” it will be impossible to legislate. Here are those guidelines (from the NCAA release):

— Ensuring student-athletes are treated similarly to nonathlete students unless a compelling reason exists to differentiate.

— Maintaining the priorities of education and the collegiate experience to provide opportunities for student-athlete success.

— Ensuring rules are transparent, focused and enforceable, and facilitating fair and balanced competition.

— Making clear the distinction between collegiate and professional opportunities.

— Making clear that compensation for athletics performance or participation is impermissible.

— Reaffirming that student-athletes are students first and not employees of the university.

— Enhancing principles of diversity, inclusion and gender equity.

— Protecting the recruiting environment and prohibiting inducements to select, remain at or transfer to a specific institution.

It was quite interesting how the NCAA used the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to enact this legislation, as if it would have continued to resist it if we weren’t going through this situation as a nation.

This issue is just beginning to get complicated, and there is still plenty of potential legal potholes that could come up should Congress decide this isn’t enough.

I’ll have more on it later in regards to whether or not this is good for Notre Dame.

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