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NCAA: Athletes can profit from name, image likeness

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The NCAA’s Board of Governors’ voted unanimously on Tuesday to allow student-athletes to benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness.

This groundbreaking move paves the way for massive revisions to bylaws and policies, although it does not state how long the process may take. The Associated Press reported that an effective date could be no later than Jan. 2021 for all divisions.

“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,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement. “The board’s action today creates a path to enhance opportunities for student-athletes while ensuring they compete against students and not professionals.”

What does this mean? A student-athlete would be able to do an advertisement for a business or promote a product on social media. It could also pave the way for them to earn money via the sales of apparel that used their name.

The statement by the NCAA was broad, perhaps intentionally so, and allows for further discussion by colleges and conferences in the year ahead.

Florida legislators have filed bills that were set to be heard when they meet in Tallahassee for the next session, beginning in January. Gov. Ron DeSantis had recently stated his support for student-athletes to earn money off their name, image and likeness.

One of the Florida bills stated an effective date of summer 2020. California’s bill, which was the first by a state to be signed, had an effective date of 2023. It’s possible that some states could try to enact legislation ahead of the NCAA’s timetable and there is also a bill in the U.S. Congress that could help ensure uniform policies among the schools in all 50 states.

FSU coach Willie Taggart has stated that he would like to see opportunities like these made available to athletes but that the money can’t be collected until after graduation.

ACC commissioner John Swofford said: “I don’t think this is going to be the end of college athletics by any means. We’ve been resilient in the past and we will be now and we will be in the future.”

The NCAA stated that it hoped to “maintain the priorities of education” and that “rules are transparent.” It also sought to “reaffirm that student-athletes are students first and not employees of the university” as well as differentiate that “compensation for athletics performance or participation is impermissible.”

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