On Wednesday, the NCAA took a major step forward, approving an interim policy for athletes to receive compensation for their names, images, and likenesses. It’s a monumental change to the NCAA’s formula and will surely reshape college athletics moving forward. It was approved in light of multiple states passing related legislation.
The NCAA put out the following in a statement:
NCAA college athletes will have the opportunity to benefit from their name, image and likeness beginning Thursday. Governance bodies in all three divisions today adopted a uniform interim policy suspending NCAA name, image and likeness rules for all incoming and current student-athletes in all sports.
“This is an important day for college athletes since they all are now able to take advantage of name, image and likeness opportunities,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “With the variety of state laws adopted across the country, we will continue to work with Congress to develop a solution that will provide clarity on a national level. The current environment — both legal and legislative — prevents us from providing a more permanent solution and the level of detail student-athletes deserve.”
The policy provides the following guidance to college athletes, recruits, their families and member schools:
Individuals can engage in NIL activities that are consistent with the law of the state where the school is located. Colleges and universities may be a resource for state law questions.
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.
“Today, NCAA members voted to allow college athletes to benefit from name, image and likeness opportunities, no matter where their school is located,” said Division I Board of Directors chair Denise Trauth, president at Texas State. “With this interim solution in place, we will continue to work with Congress to adopt federal legislation to support student-athletes.”
While opening name, image and likeness opportunities to student-athletes, the policy in all three divisions preserves the commitment to avoid pay-for-play and improper inducements tied to choosing to attend a particular school. Those rules remain in effect.
“The new policy preserves the fact college sports are not pay-for-play,” said Division II Presidents Council chair Sandra Jordan, chancellor at the University of South Carolina Aiken. “It also reinforces key principles of fairness and integrity across the NCAA and maintains rules prohibiting improper recruiting inducements. It’s important any new rules maintain these principles.”
Division III Presidents Council chair Fayneese Miller, president at Hamline, said the Association will continue to work with Congress to develop a national law that will help colleges and universities, student-athletes and their families better navigate the name, image and likeness landscape.
“The new interim policy provides college athletes and their families some sense of clarity around name, image and likeness, but we are committed to doing more,” Miller said. “We need to continue working with Congress for a more permanent solution.”
The temporary policy will remain in place until federal legislation or new NCAA rules are adopted. With the NIL interim policy, schools and conferences may choose to adopt their own additional policies. Click here to access educational materials.
As the statement indicates, much of the rules and regulations regarding NIL benefits will be left to the conferences and schools themselves. More simply stated, it’s going to be a bit of a “wild, wild west” situation, for at least the foreseeable future. Players will now be eligible to receive sponsorships and we will likely see a return of some NCAA games in the future.
It’s a big day for college athletics. We’ll have to stay tuned to see how it all shakes out.