NCAA President Mark Emmert said Friday he'll recommend the approval of name, image and likeness (NIL) rights for collegiate student-athletes before July 1, which is when several states will have laws go into effect allowing players to accept NIL earnings.
"We need to get a vote on these rules that are in front of the members now," Emmert told Alan Blinder of the New York Times.
Concerns remain about the potential competitive disadvantages created by the differences between the state-mandated NIL laws and what's been proposed within the NCAA, though.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey told Blinder he's continued to urge Congress to create a "coast-to-coast standard" that would ensure all collegiate programs have an even playing field.
"The inherent issue with the NCAA is its bylaw changes that were drafted don't go as far as some of the state laws, so you're still going to have tension around state laws and NCAA rules," Sankey said.
Jay Bilas, a former college basketball player and current ESPN analyst who's been an outspoken advocate for players' rights, isn't a fan of congressional involvement:
The NCAA's Division I Council was scheduled to vote on NIL rights in early January, a plan that had been in place since October 2019, but instead voted to "indefinitely delay" action on the issue.
States have taken matters into their own hands in the meantime. A tally from the Business of College Sports shows 11 states have signed laws related to student-athletes' NIL rights, and almost every state has at least proposed legislation on the topic.
The NCAA proposal also provides more safeguards for universities, such as the ability to block an individual player's endorsement deal if it conflicts with one the school already has in place, while the states' laws give the players far more freedom to capitalize on their earning potential, per Blinder.
So, there's a lot of lingering uncertainty with the first state laws set to take effect July 1.