NCAA’s Board of Governors takes step towards allowing athletes to profit off endorsements, social media

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The NCAA took a significant step towards allowing college athletes to profit off of their Name, Image and Likeness rights on Wednesday when its Board of Governors approved a set of recommendations that will allow athletes to earn income through endorsements and social media content.

This decision comes on the heels of significant pressure being put on the association over the past year, as Congress has gotten involved after numerous state legislatures passed laws allowing student-athletes to profit off of their NIL rights.

The changes are expected to go into effect for the 2021-22 academic year.

But as groundbreaking as this decision is, the devil is still going to be in the details. In other words, how will the NCAA regulate the marketing and social media deals that these athletes sign? The NCAA has made clear that they do not want these deals to be pay for play or recruiting inducements, so what happens when, say, Memphis-based FedEx endorses a top five pick for $300,000 who then enrolls at Memphis?

On October 29th of last year, the NCAA’s Board of Governors unveiled a list of guidelines that were used to build the recommendations for changing NIL rules. First among them was this: “Assure student-athletes are treated similarly to non-athlete students unless a compelling reason exists to differentiate.”

Non-athlete students are not limited by anything when it comes to the money that they can make off of their skills, regardless of what they are or how much people will pay.

Here’s to hoping the NCAA listens to their own advice.

You can read the NCAA working group’s full report here.