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



This. Is. Huge.


They didn’t like Cali saying suck it


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

2 Cents

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



Managing Speed

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


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

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.


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

pete kennedy

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


Swimmers were behind one of the biggest stories highlighting what’s wrong with NCAA rules.

Horns up

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.


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.


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

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

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

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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