The NCAA is finally taking steps in the right direction. Mark Emmert and Co. have appointed a working group to examine issues related to student-athlete name, image and likeness.
The NCAA Board of Governors Federal and State Legislation Working Group could result in the moment so many people across the country have been waiting for: the return of NCAA Football the video game.
But seriously, this has been a long time coming and it’s about time the NCAA joined the rest of us in the 21st century. According to the NCAA, the group will be working with a host of different people to potentially move towards rule changes in this area.
“This group will bring together diverse opinions from the membership — from presidents and commissioners to student-athletes — that will examine the NCAA’s position on name, image and likeness benefits and potentially propose rule modifications tethered to education,” said Val Ackerman, commissioner of the Big East and working group co-chair. “We believe the time is right for these discussions and look forward to a thorough assessment of the many complexities involved in this area.”
Sounds good, right?
Not so fast. Nothing comes simple with the NCAA. Literally, the very next sentence of the press release says the exact opposite and sounds more like the NCAA.
“According to the board, the group will not consider any concepts that could be construed as payment for participation in college sports.”
Now that sounds about right.
In reality, this is simply the NCAA responding to their first loss in court regarding the same issue. Meanwhile, Washington and California have begun the process of proposing new legislation that would force universities to compensate athletes for their name, image and likeness.
It’s a move in the right direction, but I’m not so sure it’s a process with the right intentions in mind. Nevertheless, I look forward to the day I turn my PlayStation on and hear the words: “EA Sports, it’s in the game.”
For now, though, a final report is due to the Board of Governors in October, with an update provided in August. Hopefully by then we’ll have some more clarity on the realistic expectations of this new group.
You can read the press release in its entirety here.