NCAA Announces Support for Updates to 'Name, Image, Likeness' Rules for Student-Athletes

Jake Kocorowski

Beginning with the 2021-22 academic year, big changes could very well be in store for student-athletes in terms of new "name, image and likeness" (NIL) guidelines.

On Wednesday morning, the NCAA released a statement, announcing that its "Board of Governors supported rule changes to allow student-athletes to receive compensation for third-party endorsements both related to and separate from athletics." In the opening paragraph, it also said it "supports compensation for other student-athlete opportunities, such as social media, businesses they have started and personal appearances within the guiding principles originally outlined by the board in October." 

The statement also notes the suggested guidelines by the Board of Governors will advance to each of the NCAA's three divisions "for further consideration." The timelines would be for each division to "adopt new name, image and likeness rules by January" 2021. Then those would begin to be enforced at the commencement of the 2021-22 academic year.

Here's more from the statement:

"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.

"The board directed all three divisions to consider appropriate rules changes based on recommendations from its Federal and State Legislation Working Group.

“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,” said Michael V. Drake, chair of the board and president of Ohio State. “Allowing promotions and third-party endorsements is uncharted territory.”

For those clamoring for the return of an NCAA football game, however, there appears to be more hurdles to clear:

There is a lot to unpack and digest from the announcement, including its "guardrails," more declared "principles and guidelines" on these NIL updates, as well as working with Congress on this process. Be sure to read more on that, along with analysis from Sports Illustrated, and more in the coming days.