The NCAA made a major change in how students can engage in profit making business. The organization is embracing a new process that will allow student-athletes to profit off of their name, image and likeness, the NCAA announced on Tuesday.
The governing board voted unanimously to allow college athletes to be compensated, though the NCAA’s three divisions must still craft their own rules and detail the specifics.
This decision is a major shift for the organization, which had historically been steadfast in prohibiting college athletes from being paid, in order to preserve the organization’s amateurism rules.
The NCAA sent a letter to California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier in September opposing the state’s “Fair Play to Play Act,” arguing that it would “upend [a] level playing field for all student-athletes.”
The state of California became the first state to pass a law that would allow college athletes to get paid for endorsement deals and hire sports agents. Despite the NCAA’s latest decision, the organization said California’s law is still “likely unconstitutional” and is considering all potential next steps as states continue to address the subject of student-athlete pay. The law takes effect in 2023.
Student-athletes must still be treated in the same way as non-athlete students, the NCAA reiterated in its press release on Tuesday. The NCAA also made it clear that college athletes must not be treated like employees of their respective universities, and that there should be a “clear distinction between college and professional opportunities.”
“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” Board of Governors chairman and president of Ohio State University Michael V. Drake said in a statement. “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.”