NCAA panel signs off on player endorsements


NCAA players are a step closer to profiting from the use of their name and likeness.

Under a proposal the NCAA announced Wednesday that it will support, college athletes would be permitted to sign endorsement contracts and receive payments for additional work as long as their school is not involved in the payment process. A full NCAA vote to approve the measure is not expected for nine months.

The plan calls for legislation from Congress and implementation by the start of the 2021 academic year.

Other opportunities are loosely defined but would include social media.

The NCAA could restrict the type of payments players receive and would continue regulation.

“The NCAA has relied upon considerable feedback from the engagement of our members, including numerous student-athletes, from all three divisions. Allowing promotions and third-party endorsements is uncharted territory,” board chairperson Michael Drake said in a release Wednesday morning.

California and Florida are among states that have passed legislation preventing players from being punished for profiting from their own name and likeness. The “Fair Pay to Play” legislation is far less restrictive than the proposal the NCAA endorsed on Wednesday, leaving additional loopholes to be closed before a vote of approval would be cast.

The California law, however, is not scheduled to go into effect until 2023. At least 24 other states have either approved or are expected to vote this calendar year on a similar structure.

The NCAA said Wednesday it plans to ask the federal government to create universal guidelines for colleges and their athletes to follow.

NCAA president Mark Emmert said he understands the degree of difficulty of getting precise legislation to support their position will be an immense challenge in an election year and during a pandemic.

Amateurism status is critical to the NCAA defending itself against antitrust violation lawsuits, nonprofit tax exemptions essential to profitability, and labor practices.

“Our efforts over the years to improve the student-athlete experience have often been met with increased litigation and challenges that significantly limit the NCAA’s ability to address those needs and opportunities,” Emmert said.

—Field Level Media