NCAA to adopt rule change allowing student-athletes to profit from name, image and likeness

(WIBW) - The NCAA will allow student-athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness beginning in the 2021-2022 academic year, the NCAA Board of Governors announced Wednesday.

"Throughout our efforts to enhance support for college athletes, the NCAA has relied upon considerable feedback from and the engagement of our members, including numerous student-athletes, from all three divisions," Michael Drake, NCAA board of governors chair and president of Ohio State, said. "Allowing promotions and third-party endorsements is unchartered territory."

With Wednesday's announcement, the board has approved the process of developing legislation to allow student-athletes to benefit from endorsements and promotions to begin. Previously, NCAA rules barred student-athletes from earning money through opportunities like social media, appearances, and entrepreneurship.

Each of the three NCAA divisions will now develop new rules based on recommendations from the board's Federal and State Legislation Working Group. The group has developed a set of principles and guidelines to follow, such as establishing a "clear the distinction between collegiate and professional opportunities" and "reaffirming that student-athletes are students first and not employees of the university."

Oct. 31 is the deadline for a draft of legislation. The NCAA Board of Governors will vote on Jan. 31, 2021, and the changes would take effect at the beginning of that academic year.

Student-athletes will be allowed to identify themselves by what sport they play and what school they go to — however, they can't use conference or school logos or trademarks. Schools won't be allowed to be directly involved in arranging profitable opportunities for athletes.

The recommendations do not include support for group licensing such as video games. The NCAA offered no answers for shoe deals — a highly discussed topic for Power 5 standout athletes and the center of several controversies in the nation's top basketball programs this past year.

“As we evolve, the Association will continue to identify the guardrails to further support student-athletes within the context of college sports and higher education,” said Val Ackerman, commissioner of the Big East and working group co-chair. “In addition, we are mindful of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on higher education, college sports and students at large. We hope that modernized name, image and likeness rules will further assist college athletes during these unprecedented times and beyond.”