The NCAA Board of Governors voted unanimously to allow student-athletes to be compensated for the use of their name, image and likeness “in a manner consistent with he collegiate model,” per an NCAA release on Tuesday.
“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” said Michael V. Drake, president of Ohio State University and the current chairman of the NCAA’s top governing board.
“Additional flexibility in this area can and must continue to support college sports as a part of higher education,” Drake said in the NCAA release. “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 board listed the following principles and guidelines associated with the student-athletes being compensated:
• 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.
Georgia senior running back Brian Herrien, asked about players being paid last week as it related to a Georgia legislative motion, indicated athletes are ready to be compensated.
“I’m pretty sure the players behind me would appreciate that a lot, players ahead of me as well,” Herrien said. “People like to say all the people come to the stadium to watch the players, they’ve got the players jersey on, even though it’s not his name on the back, but we know.”
NCAA president Mark Emmert has been in the middle of the controversial topic since it heated up in earnest when California Democratic state senator Nancy Skinner had a bill signed last September that cleared the way for students to accept endorsement money effective Jan. 2023.
Several other states, including Georgia, showed interest in proposals that would enable student-athletes to be compensated for the usage of their name, image and likeness.
“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,” 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.”
The NCAA Board of Governors Federal and State Legislation Working Group, formed last May, has gathered information over the past several months that led to Tuesday’s decision, according to the report.
That group, which includes school presidents, athletic directors, student-athletes and league commissioners, will continue to gather information through April “to refine its recommendations.”
The board wants each division to have new rules in place by January of 2021, per the NCAA release.