NCAA Sets Interim Policy, Allowing Student Athletes To Make Money Off Likeness

By Tom Tapp, Matt Grobar

USC Football
Quarterback Kedon Slovis of USC Ashley Landis/AP

UPDATED, 3:23 PM: On Wednesday, the NCAA’s board of directors established an interim policy, allowing student athletes to profit off of their own names, images and likenesses.

The NIL policy, taking effect on Thursday, was signed off on by the governance bodies of each of the NCAA’s divisions. It will remain in place “until federal legislation or new NCAA rules are adopted,” according to the association.

“This is an important day for college athletes since they all are now able to take advantage of name, image and likeness opportunities,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert. “With the variety of state laws adopted across the country, we will continue to work with Congress to develop a solution that will provide clarity on a national level. The current environment — both legal and legislative — prevents us from providing a more permanent solution and the level of detail student-athletes deserve.”

“The new policy preserves the fact college sports are not pay-for-play,” added Division II Presidents Council chair Sandra Jordan, chancellor at the University of South Carolina Aiken. “It also reinforces key principles of fairness and integrity across the NCAA and maintains rules prohibiting improper recruiting inducements. It’s important any new rules maintain these principles.”

Schools and conferences may choose to adopt their own additional policies. The NCAA’s new policy is further broken down for college athletes, their families, member schools and recruits below.

PREVIOUSLY, June 28: The NCAA on Monday set the stage for student athletes to be able to make money off their own names, images and likenesses. A recommendation was handed down by the the Division I Council and will be addressed at the Division I Board of Directors meeting on Wednesday.

The organization’s hand has been forced by laws passed in 20 states enabling athletes to control their own names, images and likenesses. On July 1, laws in seven of those states go into effect: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas. Another state, Arizona, has a law going into effect July 23, while a further 12 states, such as California, have enacted laws that take effect at later dates.

While the new stance impacts all sports, the big TV money is in football and men’s basketball. Big-name D1 football schools include Ohio State, Stanford, Georgia, USC, UCLA, Texas A&M, Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Cal, Notre Dame, Washington, Penn State, Iowa and BYU.

Monday’s recommendation, however, is not for permanent change. It suggests that the Division I Board of Directors adopt an “interim policy” that would suspend amateurism rules. The policy is a placeholder until federal legislation or new NCAA rules governing this sphere are adopted.

A statement released by NCAA D1 said the decision would not lift the “commitment to avoid pay-for-play and improper inducements tied to choosing to attend a particular school.”

The D1 statement also outlines the following:

  • College athletes can engage in NIL activities that are consistent with the law of the state where the school is located. Colleges and universities are responsible for determining whether those activities are consistent with state law.
  • Student-athletes who attend a school in a state without a NIL law can engage in this type of activity without violating NCAA rules related to name, image and likeness.
  • College athletes can use a professional services provider for NIL activities.
  • Student-athletes should report NIL activities consistent with state law or school and conference requirements to their school.

Governance committees in Divisions II and III are also expected to vote on the interim policy by Wednesday.

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