A longstanding battle between the NCAA and student-athletes finally appears to be over. And, this time, that’s good news for the student-athletes.
On Wednesday, the NCAA announced it would “support rule changes to allow student-athletes to receive compensation for third-party endorsements both related to and separate from athletics,” per NCAA.com.
This is massive news.
Former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon began this process by filing a lawsuit against the NCAA over college athletes being unable to profit on his or her own likeness. For instance, when teams sell those jerseys on Fanatics or in their official team stores with the exact same jersey the player wears, but with no name on the back, the player gets nothing.
That didn’t sit well with O’Bannon.
Over the years, the battle played out in the court system with the NCAA doing things like stopping the production of the popular EA Sports video game, NCAA Football. No football game —or basketball game—meant student-athletes couldn’t dispute the use of their own likeness.
According to the NCAA, this new policy goes into effect for the beginning of the 2021-22 academic year.
So, what does this mean for student-athletes?
For one, if a player is invited to an autograph convention to sign memorabilia, it will not be an NCAA violation and the player can profit off of the appearance. Whereas in the past, this was an NCAA violation that could lead to suspension and/or dismissal of the player.
Remember when former Georgia star, Todd Gurley, was suspended for receiving over $3K for selling items he signed? Under these new rules, that would now be completely legal.
Now, it is important to note that the NCAA will not be paying the players. That was made clear in the NCAA’s statement:
“The board emphasized that at no point should a university or college pay student-athletes for name, image and likeness activities.”
Let’s be clear, this is a step in the right direction and should have been done long ago.
The biggest question on social media was, “when is NCAA Football” coming back?
Well, there is no definitive answer to that at the current time. But—for the time being—it doesn’t appear likely, according to Big East commissioner Val Ackerman.
While some will quibble with the NCAA Football game not being available ASAP, this is a landmark decision in favor of the athletes. And that is a good thing.