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NCAA starts process to allow athletes to benefit from their name, image and likeness

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The much-needed change ‘appears’ to be finally happening.

NCAA Men’s Final Four - Previews Photo by Maxx Wolfson/Getty Images

The NCAA’s top governing board has voted unanimously to allow student-athletes the opportunity to benefit from the use of their name, image, and likeness in a manner consistent with the collegiate model.

In a release, the plans to change the rules in college athletics at all three divisional levels was given by the NCAA Board of Governors.

“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.”

To be more specific, the board said modernization should occur 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.

According to the release, “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 NCAA is going to “continue to gather feedback through April on how best to respond to the state and federal legislative environment and to refine its recommendations on the principles and regulatory framework.”

The board has asked each division to create any new rules beginning immediately, but a deadline has been set for 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,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “The board’s action today creates a path to enhance opportunities for student-athletes while ensuring they compete against students and not professionals.”

Hopefully, this also leads to the return of the NCAA Basketball and NCAA Football video games.