The NCAA’s top governing board voted unanimously to permit student-athletes the opportunity to benefit from the use of their name, image, and likeness in a manner consistent with the collegiate model.
In a release this afternoon, the NCAA Board of Governors announced each of the NCAA’s three divisions would need to “immediately consider updates to relevant bylaws and policies for the 21st century.”
“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” Michael V. 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.”
More specifically, the board announced this modernization should occur within the following guidelines:
- 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.
These actions were based on comprehensive recommendations from the NCAA Board of Governors Federal and State Legislation Working Group, which includes presidents, commissioners, athletics directors, administrators and student-athletes. After receiving input over the past several months, the board met this morning to come up with a solution.
According to the NCAA, this working group will “continue to gather feedback through April on how best to respond to the state and federal legislative environment and to refine its recommendations on the principles and regulatory framework.”
Each division is allowed to create any new rules beginning immediately, with a deadline for said rules being set for January 2021.
“As a national governing body, the NCAA is uniquely positioned to modify its rules to ensure fairness and a level playing field for student-athletes,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in the release. “The board’s action today creates a path to enhance opportunities for student-athletes while ensuring they compete against students and not professionals.”