NCAA to permit student-athletes to profit off name, image, likeness


Jun 11, 2021; Eugene, Oregon, USA; An NCAA logo flag at the NCAA Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Pay day finally has arrived for NCAA athletes.

The NCAA's board of directors adopted an interim policy for all three divisions on Wednesday permitting incoming and current student-athletes to make money off their names, images and likenesses beginning Thursday.

That offers athletes the ability to monetize social media, endorsements, autograph signings and other financial opportunities. Athletes also are permitted to use a professional service provider such as an agent or representative to broker such deals.

"This is an important day for college athletes since they all are now able to take advantage of name, image and likeness opportunities,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement. “With the variety of state laws adopted across the country, we will continue to work with Congress to develop a solution that will provide clarity on a national level. The current environment — both legal and legislative — prevents us from providing a more permanent solution and the level of detail student-athletes deserve.”

Under the policy, NIL activities must be consistent with the law of the state where the athlete's school is located. The athletes should report NIL activities to their school, and the college and universities are responsible for ensuring the activities are consistent with state law.

After years of debate regarding the ability of student-athletes to profit off their NIL, this ruling clears the way for earning power that exceeds the traditional compensation of a college education, while also maintaining the long-standing restrictions preventing pay-for-play.

"The new policy preserves the fact college sports are not pay-for-play,” Division II Presidents Council chair Sandra Jordan, chancellor at the University of South Carolina Aiken, said. “It also reinforces key principles of fairness and integrity across the NCAA and maintains rules prohibiting improper recruiting inducements. It’s important any new rules maintain these principles.” 

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