NCAA takes first step to allow college athletes to benefit from use of their name, image and likeness

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ATLANTA, Ga. (AP) — The NCAA Board of Governors took the first step toward allowing college athletes to cash in on their fame, unanimously voting in favor of rules allowing them to “benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness.”

The vote came during a meeting at Emory University in Atlanta.

In a news release, board chair Michael V. Drake said the board realized that it “must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes.”

The board said universities should follow 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 decision was based on recommendations from the NCAA Board of Governors Federal and State Legislation Working Group, a body that includes presidents, commissioners, athletics directors, administrators and student-athletes. Over the past several months, the group has been studying the matter and getting feedback from various stakeholders.

The group will continue to work through April as it tries craft a framework for legislative and regulatory implementation.

The University of Notre Dame issued this statement:

“Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins has long supported the idea that student-athletes should be able to monetize their popularity, as long as abuse is prevented and their character as students – not professional athletes – is preserved. In 2015, the New York Times reported that ‘Father Jenkins, a passionate defender of his alma mater, has considered the arguments. He agrees that the NCAA is struggling to find its role on a changed playing field. And, in what may come as a surprise, he suggests that student-athletes should be able to monetize their fame, with limits.’”

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