The NCAA is taking steps towards allowing student-athletes to use their name, image, and likeness for personal profit. This shift has come from the Board of Governors supporting changing the rule that prevented student-athletes from receiving compensation for using their status as athletes. This includes third-party endorsements and promotion, starting businesses, and personal appearances, all of which can be related to athletics or not.
These restrictions on what college athletes can do while remaining amateur athletes will be lifted are set to take effect as soon as the 2021 to 2022 school year. The push for this rule change came quickly from the NCAA due to many state laws like California’s Fair Pay to Play Act.
While some think that this will ruin the spirit of amateurism in NCAA sports, others, like Sports Fans Coalition, have highlighted some positive impacts that will come from this change. Many have noted the benefits of this rule change to many groups that have been given fewer opportunities to profit from athletics after college like female athletes. Another benefit is that it would give Black athletes, who dominate high revenue sports like football and basketball, the opportunity to make money while still maintaining their amateur status.
Before this change, NCAA athletes were limited to scholarships that paid for their education as compensation for the millions of dollars of revenue that they bring into the schools each year. Universities profit greatly from using an athlete’s image in marketing campaigns, ticket sales, apparel sales, all on top of multimillion-dollar deals with cable networks and athletic brands.
There are still limitations to this breakthrough for collegiate athletes, like the money that these athletes are receiving cannot be paid by the university that they compete for. This change still prevents schools from paying athletes for work beyond their scholarships. Along with that, student-athletes are not allowed to use logos and trademarks of schools and conferences.
This law has paved the way for the introduction of other benefits for collegiate athletes more specifically to improve their education like study abroad opportunities and graduate school scholarships just to name a few. Overall, this rule change has opened the door for creating more opportunities for college athletes and a great first step in making sure that they are given the same.
Sports Fans Coalition has advocated before state legislatures on name, image, and likeness rights for many years. The NCAA’s proposed rule change is a step in the right direction, though there’s still a lot more that athletes deserve.