NCAA to Enhance Name, Image and Likeness Opportunities for Student-athletes

NCAA Likeness

The NCAA announced intentions to give student-athletes more opportunities to capitalize on the name, image and likeness. Student-athletes will have more opportunities according to “a manner consistent with the collegiate model.”

From the Association’s press release: “The Board of Governors’ action directs each of the NCAA’s three divisions to immediately consider updates to relevant bylaws and policies.”

The action comes after California governor Gavin Newsom signed State Bill 206 into action Sept. 30. State Bill 206 makes it illegal for student-athletes to be banned from competing just because they used their likeness for profit.

It’s a huge step forward for the NCAA, but one that won’t happen immediately. This is just a call to action, an acknowledgment of the need for change, and, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, changes will come “no later than January 2021.”

This opens the door for student-athletes to appear in paid advertisements, video games and the like, but the fine details will be sorted out eventually by the NCAA.

There are some stipulations specifically outlined in the press release. The NCAA still wants education to be the priority for student-athletes. Rules will still exist to facilitate fair and balanced competition. Student-athletes are still viewed as amatuers and cannot be considered employees of the university.

Today’s announcement really wasn’t much more than an acknowledgment. The higher ups are essentially saying they realize things need to change and student-athletes shouldn’t be limited in their use of their own likeness. It’s a press release announcing a brainstorm.

But at least it’s something, and for an organization who has ignored pleas for change for so long, any news is good news.

There is a lot left to sort out. If players aren’t employees, can athletic departments display them on billboards without paying them for their likeness? Will players be able to profit off of jersey sales? January 2021 is not too far from now, so the NCAA will have a lot of work to do before then.

This is also an important step in the future of NCAA sports video games. EA’s last collegiate sports game came back in 2013. If the NCAA is serious about allowing players to use their likeness, then allowing players to appear in video games is a good place to start.

Story by: Connor Sanders