NCAA Approves Rule Change On Third-party Sponsorship For College Athletes

The Board of Governors of the NCAA has voted to support changes in the rules that allow student-athletes that seek compensation for third-party endorsements related to and independent from athletics.

Although student-athletes would be able to identify themselves through sport and school, it would not require the use of conference and school logos, trademarks or other involvement. The board emphasised that student-athletes should not be paid at any point by a university or college for name, picture, and related activities.

The board directed all three divisions to consider appropriate changes to the rules, based on recommendations from its Federal and State Legislation Working Group.

Michael V Drake, chair of the board and president of Ohio State said: “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. Allowing promotions and third-party endorsements is uncharted territory.”

The proposals are now going to the rules-making system for further review in each of the NCAA’s three divisions. The divisions are required to follow new rules on name, image and similarity by January to come into effect at the beginning of the academic year 2021-22.

The board added that it would include guardrails around any potential activities relating to name, picture and similarity. These should not include any name, picture, and similarity practises that would be considered pay for play; no association with schools or conferences; no use of name, picture, and similarity for school or booster recruitment; and controlling agents and advisors.

Gene Smith, Ohio State senior vice president and athletics director and working group co-chair said: “The NCAA’s work to modernise name, image and likeness continues, and we plan to make these important changes on the original timeline, no later than January 2021. The board’s decision today provides further guidance to each division as they create and adopt appropriate rules changes.”

The working group recognised in its report that the rules needed to accomplish the modifications that vary by division and stressed the need for effective regulation in the future.

“The evolving legal and legislative landscape around these issues not only could undermine college sports as a part of higher education but also significantly limit the NCAA’s ability to meet the needs of college athletes moving forward,” Drake said.

“We must continue to engage with Congress in order to secure the appropriate legal and legislative framework to modernise our rules around name, image and likeness. We will do so in a way that underscores the association’s mission to oversee and protect college athletics and college athletes on a national scale.”