NCAA to Hold Talks on Modifying Rules to Let Athletes Profit from Endorsements

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistOctober 28, 2019

FILE - In this April 19, 2019, file photo, an athlete stands near a NCAA logo during a softball game in Beaumont, Texas. The NCAA is poised to take a significant step toward allowing college athletes to earn money without violating amateurism rules. The Board of Governors will be briefed Tuesday, Oct. 29 by administrators who have been examining whether it would be feasible to allow college athletes to profit of their names, images and likenesses. A California law set to take effect in 2023 would make it illegal for NCAA schools in the state to prevent athletes from signing personal endorsement deals. (AP Photo/Aaron M. Sprecher, File)
Aaron M. Sprecher/Associated Press

Momentum has been building in recent months toward NCAA athletes eventually having the opportunity to make money off their names and likenesses, and some of the NCAA's top decision-makers will reportedly meet to discuss the topic. 

Dan Murphy of reported the news, noting the Tuesday meeting in Atlanta is the "first formal discussion" about potentially changing the association's rules that prevent athletes from making money from their image rights.

This meeting is also the first for the NCAA board of Governors since California passed a state law that would allow athletes to profit from their likeness. Murphy pointed out "more than a dozen other states are considering similar laws."

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the bill on LeBron JamesThe Shop:

James tweeted his support of the bill before Newsom did so, and Golden State Warriors forward and former Michigan State All-American Draymond Green wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post in favor of it. Green also described the NCAA as "a dictatorship" in the piece.

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Newsom isn't the only politician to become involved with the issue.

Representative Mark Walker from North Carolina wants Congress to vote on a bill and possibly create a national law by January 2021, while Representative Anthony Gonzalez from Ohio is planning on introducing a second federal bill that would allow college athletes to be compensated.

Gonzalez brings a different perspective and experience to the issue because he played wide receiver at Ohio State before he became a politician.

Murphy explained Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith and Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman will present recommendations to the NCAA Board of Governors since they were in charge of a committee that has studied various options surrounding this issue.

Murphy also noted Ohio State president Michael Drake, who is the chairman of the NCAA Board of Governors, said in August the NCAA could change its position on the issue but still wants there to be separation between major college sports and professional sports.

"If the NCAA wants to be certain that it can lay out its own rules before state or federal laws change their business for them, they may need to act in this academic year's legislative cycle," Murphy wrote while explaining the association typically hears rule change proposals in November and makes decisions in April.