NCAA Votes to Permit Student-Athletes to Profit from Name, Image & Likeness

The NCAA Board of Governors voted unanimously Tuesday to allow student-athletes to profit off of their own name, image, and likenesses in “a manner consistent with the collegiate model,” the organization announced.

The Board is directing each of the NCAA‘s three divisions to “immediately consider updates to relevant bylaws and policies for the 21st century.” The divisions have been asked to create rules that take effect no later than January 2021.

“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” Michael Drake, chair of the board and president of The Ohio State University, 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.”

The move comes almost exactly a month after California passed bill SB 206, otherwise known as the “Fair Pay to Play Act,” which was set to grant California-based NCAA athletes the opportunity to profit off their name, image and likeness come 2023. After that bill was passed, other states quickly followed with their own versions, challenging the NCAA‘s long-standing stranglehold on keeping its athletes amateur in the financial sense.

The Pac-12 Conference – the major conference in which Division I teams in California participate – and its schools in the state publicly opposed the bill, voicing concerns regarding recruiting and the support of Olympic and women’s sports.

The board recommended updates to the following guidelines specifically, according to the release:

  • 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.

The decision was based on the recommendation of the NCAA Board of Governors Federal and State Legislation Working Group, which includes presidents, commissioners, athletics directors, administrators and student-athletes.

It’s unclear as of now exactly what implementing rules “in a manner consistent with the collegiate model” entails — and the decision will garner some level of skepticism until that potentially massive caveat does come to light. In fact, in a page of FAQs that came along with the announcement, the NCAA maintained that it believes California’s approach is unconstitutional, and “directly contradicts the mission of college sports within higher education,” so don’t expect athletes to be freely signing lucrative endorsement deals just yet.

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Swimmer A
1 year ago

Cool

Jingle
1 year ago

This. Is. Huge.

Jingle
Reply to  Jingle
1 year ago

They didn’t like Cali saying suck it

H1H2
1 year ago

I’m guessing this won’t affect most swimmers though…

2 Cents
Reply to  H1H2
1 year ago

Current ones, no… but say goodbye to a few more programs and fair recruiting now.

Blaize
Reply to  2 Cents
1 year ago

Correct!

Managing Speed
Reply to  2 Cents
1 year ago

How so? Why would programs get cut because of this? How does this make recruiting any more unfair than it is now?

SWIMFAN
Reply to  Managing Speed
1 year ago

Its going to make recruiting MORE unfair than it is. Boosters owning business; come to our school and soandso will pay you to advertise their product. The rich get richer and the others get nothing. Fair play to the athletes they should be able to make money off their NIL, but it needs to be regulated on how much $$ and who can influence the amount each athlete can make. Football and basketball players will be on posters, selling jerseys and making doe off that whats the swimming equivalent…a $10 cap?

Managing Speed
Reply to  SWIMFAN
1 year ago

I agree that boosters will be highly involved, but if you think they’re not already involved for any high profile recruit you’re very naive. This will just make everything more transparent. Totally agree that football and basketball players will likely make way more than any swimmer – again, nothing different than the current situation except those same star swimmers will be able to make something as opposed to nothing.

JimSwim22
Reply to  SWIMFAN
1 year ago

The market send to think that football and basketball are more valuable than swimming.

pete kennedy
Reply to  SWIMFAN
1 year ago

And who is going to police how much $$$$ someone gives them in cash for their jerseys ?
the door is now open !!!

Anon
Reply to  2 Cents
1 year ago

Swimmers were behind one of the biggest stories highlighting what’s wrong with NCAA rules. https://swimswam.com/ncaa-cracks-down-on-iowa-swimmers-tshirt-business/

Horns up
Reply to  Anon
1 year ago

Exactly!!! People only think this is about a star athlete and making money from their sport… but what people don’t understand is that NCAA athletes can’t have an outside business using their name and have to be very careful how they make money given the current rules.

Swimdaddoc
Reply to  2 Cents
1 year ago

This could effect the support that swim programs receive from their athletic departments who might not have as deep a pocket when the monies are redistributed!! I think this could hurt non-revenue producing collegiate programs across the nation. That might translate into less scholarships, facility improvements, and even cutting programs. Watch what you wish for.

JimSwim22
Reply to  2 Cents
1 year ago

Is going to the highest bidder unfair? I don’t think it will come to that in swimming but I think it will work fine for football and basketball

IU Swammer
Reply to  H1H2
1 year ago

I think it will, but not in sponsorships. When I was swimming, I looked into teaching private swim lessons, but I was told I would not be allowed to use my name in association with the lessons. A couple hundred bucks over the summer from teaching lessons can be impactful for a college athlete.

pete kennedy
Reply to  IU Swammer
1 year ago

Along time ago 1956 a famous swimmer from Ohio State came to New York for the summer to work at a country club
and when a phone call was made to the Club the Club responded “oh he is teaching swim lessons right now and can not
come to the phone.
This is the “death knell” I predicated over 35 years ago.
Collegiate sports would bow to the $$$$$.
Once an NCAA Bureaucracy was established (and it has been – look at the growth of administrative positions within the
universities and the NCAA). All of these positions are now dependent on the NCAA for their lively hood including the sports casters, etc

Daddy
1 year ago

Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty we are free at last.

Swimmom
1 year ago

Wowza. That was quick.

tallswimmer
1 year ago

Oh come on, read it again. especially this part:

“Protect the recruiting environment and prohibit inducements to select, remain at, or transfer to a specific institution.”

and this part:

“a manner consistent with the collegiate model”

Those two snippets mean they still want free labor to make their $$.

They aren’t going to do crap, and will find a way to weasel out unless more states add NIL laws. Delay and committee the thing to death until their hand is forced.

Swimmy
1 year ago

So does this affect people trying to make money off of YouTubing their college sports expierence?

chlorine burn
1 year ago

can someone explain how this will affect swimming. i’m confused.

Admin
Reply to  chlorine burn
1 year ago

A small handful of swimmers will be able to make money off their likenesses while still in college. This will probably be way more valuable for international swimmers than for American swimmers – an Olympic finalist in the US may not have advertisers beating down their doors, but in other countries, that can make you in high demand for advertisers.

There are some other indirect ways that it could impact swimming, but at this point the rest is just conjecture.

Nswim
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

*cough cough* Reagan Smith *cough cough*

Dan
Reply to  chlorine burn
1 year ago

Companies like Nike enter into contracts with entire athletic departments so that the basketball and football players will be on TV wearing that brand. Now instead of a large contract with the whole school (that ultimately results in money going to fund the swim team) individual athletes will be able to sign contracts. This will probably result in fewer opportunities to swim at the D1 level.

That said, it will be a huge boom to the top end swimmers. Now swimmers will be allowed to collect endorsements while still swimming for their college. In the past, a large handful of swimmers have either foregone the chance to swim in college entirely or turned pro after a couple years. I won’t… Read more »

Admin
Reply to  Dan
1 year ago

There was some language in the California bill that said individual athletes’ contracts could not override the school’s apparel contracts, so that helps a little with the scenario you proposed.

Spectatorn
Reply to  chlorine burn
1 year ago

I am hoping, at least allow swimmers to keep the prize money if they are going with the school to a pro-series type of meets or other national team meets.

Not sure where the line drawn, but at least allow swimmers to include their name and the school team they are representing as student-athletes in their bio, when swimmers need for any part-time job (teaching swimming in summer time) or create their business (swimming related or not).

Admin
Reply to  Spectatorn
1 year ago

Prize money is not included in the California bill nor in the NCAA’s plans moving forward, unless that was prize money given by an Olympic committee for success at a specific “operation gold” type meet, aka the country’s biggest meet of the year.

TheRoboticRichardSimmons
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

Don’t underestimate this generations ability to monetize microinfluence via social media. Plenty of lesser athletes can still generate big enough followings to create interest in brands to pay them as an influencer. When you consider the influence that college swimmers have in their community and former club teams (you know, those places were scores of parents plow tons of money into their 6-18 year old swimmers), it wouldn’t be too hard to make some money with a well run social media account.

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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