The NCAA’s Board of Directors has officially decided to suspend the organization’s rules regarding limitations on an athlete’s name, image, and likeness.
Under the suspension, college athletes around the country will be able to make money as professional athletes, allowing them to monetize social media accounts, sign endorsements, and participate in advertising campaigns.
The move comes amid recent turmoil surrounding the controversial rule in the NCAA and around the country. In September of 2019, California became the first state to sign a law prohibiting the NIL rule, allowing college athletes to monetize their sport. Several states followed the measure, causing the NCAA to vow to “modernize the NIL rules by the 2021-2022 season.” However, the timeline was pushed forward, propelled by the fact that several states will implement their laws in the coming weeks.
Under the new policy, colleges in states where there are already NIL laws enacted will be required to follow those rules. Meanwhile, in states where there are currently no laws enacted, the NCAA is encouraging the governments to enact such policies to use as guidance.
According to the NCAA, the current suspension of the NIL rule will be temporary, with the hopes that national legislation will be enacted in the coming months. In addition, under the suspension, schools will not be allowed to pay athletes directly.
In the sport of swimming and diving, the NIL rule has resulted in several notable names limiting, or opting out of, their NCAA eligibility. Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history, decided to turn pro at the age of 15, foregoing an NCAA career. Michael Andrew took a similar route when he decided to turn pro at the age of 14.
Although they did compete in the NCAA, both Katie Ledecky and Missy Franklin decided to turn pro after 2 years of college swimming, electing to pursue endorsement deals. Simone Manuel also elected to turn pro before her final season at Stanford.