On Tuesday, Oct. 29, the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Board of Governors announced that the organization is taking the first steps toward allowing college athletes to profit off their name, likeness and image.
In a press release, the NCAA announced they voted unanimously to permit college athletes at Division I, Division II and Division III programs to benefit “in a manner consistent with the collegiate model.”
The governing board members said in the press release that all changes should make sure that student-athletes should have the same opportunities to monetize on their popularity and certain key points should be put in place.
These key points include that college athletes can make money as all other students, reaffirm that student-athletes must not be treated as employees to their respective university, keeping education as a priority to the overall college experience and put rules in place that are “transparent, focused and enforceable” that doesn’t create a competitive imbalance within the structure of collegiate athletics.
Each division of the NCAA is expected to implement new rules by January 2021. Doug Knuth, athletic director at the University of Nevada, Reno, said that work is needed to be done in order to create future legislation.
“We as the membership have to figure out what this means,” he said. “The Board of Directors for the NCAA has opened the door for us to create legislation that we can allow student-athletes to earn money or however they benefit from their name.”
In order for college athletes to receive compensation for their play and fame, it may take time for everything to come together. Knuth said that the NCAA legislation goes through a series of committees and subcommittees to fine-tune certain policies and restrictions.
Once the legislation comes out of the committees, it goes back to the college conferences for feedback from upper-management positions. When the legislation is edited for specific purposes, it goes to the annual NCAA National Convention held every Jan. There, both the conferences and committees meet and put the finishing touches on the legislation before it goes for a final vote to uphold or deny the rule.
Knuth also said that minor details within the legislation can become a major turning point in the future.
“Nobody knows what this means going forward,” Knuth said. “I’ve heard back from a number of my colleagues around the country saying that the devil is in the details… We just don’t know right now. The NCAA legislative cycle has created a direction and new rules through committees and conferences, and it takes time.”
On Sept. 30, California became the first state to pass a law in order to permit college athletes to get compensated through endorsements and hire sports agents. This law is still up for discussion as it prohibits the NCAA’s rule for allowing athletes to profit in any way from sports related activities.
The NCAA is taking steps toward benefiting college athletes, but there is still work needed to be done in order to get legislation passed.
“I can’t tell what it’s going to be right now,” Knuth said. “We have a long way to go, but there’s a lot to soak in.”
Isaiah Burrows can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @SagebrushSports