NCAA will let student-athletes benefit from use of their names, images, likenesses, Board of Governors says

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

The National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Board of Governors voted unanimously to give student-athletes the opportunity to benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness, according to a NCAA news release.

The Board of Governors’ action directs each of the NCAA’s three divisions to immediately consider updates to relevant bylaws and policies for the 21st century, said Michael V. Drake, chair of the board and president of The Ohio State University.

“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” Drake said. “Additional flexibility in this area can and must continue to support college sports as a part of higher education. This modernization for the future is a natural extension of the numerous steps NCAA members have taken in recent years to improve support for student-athletes, including full cost of attendance and guaranteed scholarships.”

Specifically, the board said modernization should happen within the following principles and guidelines:

  • Assure student-athletes are treated similarly to non-athlete students unless a compelling reason exists to differentiate.
  • Maintain the priorities of education and the collegiate experience to provide opportunities for student-athlete success.
  • Ensure rules are transparent, focused and enforceable and facilitate fair and balanced competition.
  • Make clear the distinction between collegiate and professional opportunities.
  • Make clear that compensation for athletics performance or participation is impermissible.
  • Reaffirm that student-athletes are students first and not employees of the university.
  • Enhance principles of diversity, inclusion and gender equity.
  • Protect the recruiting environment and prohibit inducements to select, remain at, or transfer to a specific institution.

The board’s action was based on comprehensive recommendations from the NCAA Board of Governors Federal and State Legislation Working Group, which includes presidents, commissioners, athletics directors, administrators and student-athletes.

The board asked each division to create any new rules beginning immediately but no later than January 2021.

“As a national governing body, the NCAA is uniquely positioned to modify its rules to ensure fairness and a level playing field for student-athletes,” said Mark Emmert, NCAA president. “The board’s action today creates a path to enhance opportunities for student-athletes while ensuring they compete against students and not professionals.”

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