Before anyone gives the NCAA Board of Governors any credit for letting college athletes profit from their name, image, and likeness, people should understand this: If the NCAA is bending slightly to the popular opinion that athletes should be able to cash in, it isn’t because the organization suddenly caught a case of common sense.
It’s because the NCAA didn’t have a choice.
The Board of Governors of the NCAA, which oversees college sports, announced yesterday that it had voted unanimously to adjust rules that prohibited players from generating money from their own fame. But the move came only after lawmakers in several states had begun proposing or enacting legislation that gives college athletes the right to profit off their name and likeness. Last month, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act, giving college athletes the ability to earn income from endorsements and sponsorships starting in 2023. More than a dozen states reportedly are considering legislation similar to California’s.
“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” said Michael Drake, the chairman of the Board of Governors and president of the Ohio State University, in a statement. “Additional flexibility in this area can and must continue to support college sports as a part of higher education. This modernization for the future is a natural extension of the numerous steps NCAA members have taken in recent years to improve support for student-athletes, including full cost of attendance and guaranteed scholarships.”