The NCAA Board of Governors on Tuesday voted unanimously to allow student-athletes to be paid for the use of their name, image, and likeness once its three divisions decide on rules for such opportunities.
“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” said Michael Drake, chair of the board for the NCAA, which governs major college athletics.
The board, which met in Atlanta, asked each division to create rules between now and January 2021.
The board’s action was based on recommendations from the NCAA Board of Governors Federal and State Legislation Working Group, which includes presidents, commissioners, athletics directors, administrators, and student-athletes.
“Structuring a model for allowing students to monetize a name, image, and likeness while maintaining some recruiting balance is one of the biggest and hardest issues that everyone’s dealing with,” NCAA President Mark Emmert told CNN.
It comes after California passed a Fair Pay to Play Act, which would go into effect in 2023. Other states are looking at possible legislation. The California law would allow athletes to sign endorsement deals and licensing contracts, something NCAA rule-makers will address.
NCAA officials said the working group will continue to get feedback on how to deal with state legislation and that will help guide future recommendations.
The NCAA said new rules should continue to make compensation for play impermissible and that athletes are not employees of the universities.
Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, tweeted that athletes who make money for endorsements and other such means should be taxed on their scholarships.
“If college athletes are going to make money off their likenesses while in school, their scholarships should be treated like income,” he wrote. “I’ll be introducing legislation that subjects scholarships given to athletes who choose to ‘cash in’ to income taxes.”
The NCAA has three divisions for athletics — Division I, Division II and Division III. Division I schools typically have larger enrollments and larger athletics programs.
By Steve Almasy, Wayne Sterling, and Angela Barajas, CNN