The NCAA's Division I Board of Directors approved an interim policy Wednesday that will allow athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness.
The Athletic's Nicole Auerbach first reported the news.
Auerbach described the policy, which is set to go into effect Thursday, as a "stopgap measure" until federal lawmakers craft NIL-related legislation.
The step also comes one day before some states are set to allow college athletes to receive compensation for their name, image and likeness.
Momentum had long been building to this date, especially once states began crafting their own legislation. When California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the first NIL bill in late 2019, the floodgates were opening.
The United States Supreme Court effectively eliminated any doubt when the nine justices voted unanimously against the NCAA in NCAA v. Alston last Monday. The ruling allowed schools to provide unlimited education-related compensation to athletes.
And with Thursday's deadline quickly arriving, the NCAA had to create nationwide guidelines; otherwise it was facing a situation in which some schools could presumably be at an advantage because their athletes could be paid for their name, image and likeness while remaining eligible.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine just signed an executive order after NIL legislation was first introduced in May.
"Surely the fact that states such as Alabama, Georgia and Florida—home to some of Ohio State football's chief recruiting rivals and an area of the country OSU recruits heavily—have NIL laws set to go into effect on July 1 created a sense of urgency," The Athletic's Bill Landis wrote at the time.
Some athletes, such as Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz and Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon, offered a taste of what's to come:
Auberback made it clear athletes "are not able to explicitly accept pay for play. ... No one can offer them $20,000 if they sign with School X. The deals have to be related to NIL."
Beyond that, it's impossible to truly know what the new normal will look like in college sports because a seismic shift like this always creates unintended consequences.
But for those who have argued in favor of college athletes receiving additional compensation beyond a college degree, Thursday is a moment long overdue.