The NCAA Board of Governors voted unanimously on Tuesday to allow student-athletes to financially profit from their name, image and likeness “in a manner consistent with the collegiate model.”
According to a release by the NCAA, the decision was made after taking into account recommendations from the NCAA Board of Governors Federal and State Legislation Working Group, which consists of presidents, commissioners, athletics directors, administrators and student-athletes from all three divisions of college sports.
The move is in an effort to modernize the NCAA’s bylaws and policies, said Michael V. Drake, board chair and president of Ohio State University.
“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” Drake said in a release by the NCAA. “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.”
Despite the NCAA’s move, college athletes won’t see any changes immediately. The board instructed the three NCAA divisions to begin planning to change their rules to implement this move, which they want to take place no later than January 2021.
The board members said in a release the goals of these rules should be “transparent, focused and enforceable” and maintain a distinction between college and professional sports while also keeping competition fair.
The vote comes four weeks after California governor Gavin Newsom signed into act Senate Bill 206, which, starting in 2023, will prevent student-athletes who accept endorsement money from being punished. At least nine other states have since discussed similar legislation.
“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 NCAA’s release. “The board’s action today creates a path to enhance opportunities for student-athletes while ensuring they compete against students and not professionals.”