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NCAA moving towards letting college athletes profit from their likeness

A step in the right direction, and a potential game-changer for UK.

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA is far overdue for a change.

One of the most scrutinized concepts surrounding college athletics is the lack of payment in any form towards players. Sure, they have scholarships, and they are getting free tuition and room and board. Some argue that should be enough, and, to be fair, they aren’t that wrong.

But, the other side, the one most bystanders are on, is that some of these players like Tyrese Maxey, Zion Williamson, and Justin Fields for example, bring in millions for universities.

They should be compensated, not necessarily to play, an act that would come by schools and bring several other red flags and question marks, but to sign endorsement deals and create revenue for themselves based on who they are.

Well, after not allowing that for quite some time, the Associated Press is reporting the early next week the NCAA Board of Governors is planning to review a rule change to allow them to earn off endorsement deals.

“If adopted, the rules would allow athletes to make sponsorship and endorsement deals with all kinds of companies and third parties, from car dealerships to concert promoters to pizza shops, according to a person who has reviewed the recommendations. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday because the details were still being discussed and debated,” Associated Press’ Ralph Russo wrote.

However, they did note that school-branded materials and replica still won’t be allowed. At the very least, this is a step in the right direction and one that should make top-tier athletes to reconsider college.

This comes on the brink of the NBA’s G-League creating enhancing a development program that will be paying the top 2020 prospect half a million dollars to play for them. Whether that’s a sustainable model is yet to be seen, but it is certainly one that will allure top recruits.

That said, this move to allow players to earn money is the NCAA’s version of a counterargument, and it’ll be interesting where this development leads.

And for a program like Kentucky Basketball that’s always in the national spotlight, athletes profiting from their likeness could make John Calipari’s program even more attractive in the coming years to build up their brand.