NCAA draws closer to allowing student-athletes to benefit from their name, image and likeness


Daily file photo by Joshua Hoffman

Ryan Field, home of Northwestern football. The NCAA Board of Governors took unprecedented steps this week toward allowing student-athletes to benefit from their name, image and likeness.

Benjamin Rosenberg, Sports Editor

The NCAA Board of Governors on Tuesday supported rule changes that would allow student-athletes to benefit from their name, image and likeness, according to a statement published Wednesday morning.

Student-athletes would be permitted to identify themselves by their school, but the board emphasized that universities should not be paying them for any name, image and likeness activities.

“The NCAA has relied upon considerable feedback from and the engagement of our members, including numerous student-athletes, from all three divisions,” said Michael V. Drake, chair of the Board of Governors and president of the Ohio State University. “Allowing promotions and third-party endorsements is uncharted territory.”

Each of the NCAA’s three divisions will now likely take their own steps regarding the recommendations. The divisions’ new rules are expected to be adopted by next January and take effect for the 2021-22 academic year.

A Northwestern athletic department spokesperson said athletic director Jim Phillips did not have an official statement.

The board also underscored that student-athletes must go through third parties to benefit off their name, image and likeness — no schools or conferences can be involved, including boosters.

Last summer, the board created a Federal and State Legislation Working Group to investigate responses to proposed legislation regarding name, image and likeness. California and Colorado are the only states to pass such legislation. The working group published a report on April 17 recognizing the rules for name, image and likeness benefits may differ by division.

Val Ackerman, co-chair of the working group and commissioner of the Big East Conference, said she hoped new NIL rules would help college athletes deal with the financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are mindful of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on higher education, college sports and students at large,” Ackerman said. “We hope that modernized name, image and likeness rules will further assist college athletes during these unprecedented times and beyond.”

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