Stop me if you've heard this before, but the NCAA has shown an incredible lack of leadership and common sense. Yeah, I know, what's new, right?
The NCAA has adopted a new "policy" regarding name, image and likeness legislation that is set to go in effect on July 1. I use the term policy loosely, because the "policy" is basically them saying to colleges, "this is your problem!"
The only uniform nature of the policy is the uniformity with which the NCAA has avoided doing anything about it at all.
- Individuals can engage in 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.
Different states can have different laws, which means different rules for different colleges. I mean, what could go wrong there? The release had the audacity to use the term "fairness and integrity" in their release, and also referred to their "policy" as providing "clarity." They clarified that they are doing nothing.
Just so we are clear, I have no problem with players being able to make money off their name, image or likeness. In fact, I support it if it's done correctly. I've said for years how frustrated I am walking into the Notre Dame Bookstore and seeing jerseys with player's numbers on them that were being sold at a very expensive rate. That is true across the country and it's not unique to Notre Dame, of course.
I know, I know, there weren't any names on the jerseys, but it isn't a coincidence that the numbers available in the store were those of the top players on the current team. We've seen the NCAA punish players for making money on things that had nothing to do with football.
My issue is the complete lack of guidance the NCAA is providing. I shouldn't be surprised by the NCAA doing something cowardly, without thought or lacking in common sense, but once again I find myself surprised by it.
The NCAA needs to lead in this instance, and once again it refuses to do so. What protections are there for young people in regards to making sure they aren't doing business with someone looking to take advantage of them. To make sure they understand the dos and don'ts in regards to getting into business with another entity or person. To make sure they are getting fair rates for the service they are providing, and to make sure this doesn't turn into just a way for schools that are already engaged in shady business are able to just up the ante in a borderline legal manner.
I can't wait to read the articles by those in the media pushing for this change about how players are getting taken advantage of, or how more players are seeing their academic work suffer due to their "obligations" in this department. The utter lack of leadership on so many levels has been maddening and infuriating.
Hopefully universities will work quickly and work hard to make sure they are creating departments within the athletics programs that help facilitate these types of deals. That should allow schools to give some level of protection for players, assuming the schools don't also look to take advantage of the players looking to cash in on their name, image or likeness.
This can be done right and done in a way that benefits all involved, but what are the odds the NCAA is part of that solution?
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