The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has taken steps toward allowing student-athletes to benefit from the use of their image, name and likeness.
During a NCAA Board of Governors meeting at Emory University in Atlanta, the members unanimously voted to begin the process for allowing student-athletes to profit from their image. The board directed the NCAA’s three division to consider changes to their policies.
“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” board chair Michael V. Drake said in a statement. “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 NCAA divisions have been asked to make any policy changes immediately, according to the board, and no later than January 2021.
The board laid out eight guidelines that the divisions are to follow when considering policy changes. These include:
- 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.
According to NCAA President Mark Emmert, the new decision is designed both for fairness and for creating opportunities for the approximately 450,000 student athletes that fall under the NCAA’s umbrella. “The board’s action today creates a path to enhance opportunities for student-athletes while ensuring they compete against students and not professionals,” he says.