NCAA Says It Has Delayed Voting on Proposed Image Rights, Transfer Rule Changes

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 12, 2021

FILE - In this March 18, 2015, file photo, the NCAA logo is displayed at center court as work continues at The Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, for the NCAA college basketball tournament. A bill being introduced Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, by four Democratic lawmakers would grant college athletes sweeping rights to compensation, including a share of the revenue generated by their sports, and create a federal commission on college athletics. The College Athletes Bill of Rights is sponsored by U.S. Senators Corey Booker (D-N.J.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.). If passed it could wreak havoc with the NCAA's ability to govern intercollegiate athletics, and the association's model for amateurism. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)
Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

The NCAA announced Monday it has tabled a vote that would provide name, image and likeness rights to student-athletes as well as a vote that would expand transfer opportunities. 

"The Council remains fully committed to modernizing Division I rules in ways that benefit all student-athletes," Council chair M. Grace Calhoun said in a statement. "Unfortunately, external factors require this pause, and the Council will use this time to enhance the proposals."

The NCAA said the decision to postpone a vote was based on recent correspondence with the U.S. Department of Justice.

According to Steve Berkowitz and Christine Brennan of USA TodayAssistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim sent a letter to NCAA president Mark Emmert addressing concerns about potential rule changes, including regulations on NIL rights potentially violating anti-trust laws.

"Ultimately, the antitrust laws demand that college athletes, like everyone else in our free-market economy, benefit appropriately from competition," Delrahim wrote.

The Supreme Court also agreed to hear the NCAA's antitrust lawsuit relating to amateurism, while 10 U.S. Senators have cosponsored a "College Bill of Rights" ensuring compensation for student-athletes.

Six states have passed various laws allowing student-athletes to profit off their likenesses.

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However, the NCAA has yet to approve rule changes that would allow student-athletes to be compensated for their NIL rights.

Players in Division I are currently unable to profit off their name, image and likeness, including jersey sales, video games and autographs.

Transfer rules also currently restrict athletes in football, men's and women's basketball, baseball and men's ice hockey from playing immediately after changing schools. The NCAA created a one-time exception in those sports for the 2020-21 season but players usually have to sit out a year unless they receive a waiver.

The Division I Council said it supports changes to both rules but has pushed back the vote to an unknown date.