The NCAA received another major blow Monday on its grasp to keep collegiate athletes from profiting off their name, image, and likeness.
Monday morning the NCAA’s Division 1 council, a 40-person council composed largely of university athletic directors, recommended that the NCAA allow players to begin profiting from their name, image, and likeness (NIL). Last week the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the NCAA rules that limit educational benefits for athletes are not reasonably necessary to distinguish between college and professional sports. The plaintiffs’ attorney, Jeffrey Kessler, told ESPN;
“It’s tremendous to win this 9-0. Hopefully it will be the major next step on the road to a true fair competitive system for these athletes. It should have positive effects immediately on NIL. We look forward to a world that’s better for college athletes today than it was yesterday.”
NCAA’s defense against paying athletes crumbling down
It looks like those positive effects will come sooner than later.
Under current NCAA rules, athletes cannot be paid or profit from their NIL. The scholarship money colleges can offer is capped at the cost of attending the school. The NCAA has long defended its rules as necessary to preserve the amateur nature of college sports.
The NCAA is a multi-billion dollar organization that profits from the very athletes it has been trying to withhold fair compensation from for decades. According to their website, “the total athletics revenue reported among all NCAA athletics departments in 2019 was $18.9 billion.”
Following Monday’s recommendation, the NCAA said in a statement “while opening NIL activities to student-athletes, the policy leaves in place the commitment to avoid pay-for-play and improper inducements tied to choosing to attend a particular school. Those prohibitions would remain in effect.”
Schools have already started to partner with companies to help athletes navigate the landscape of NIL and build their personal brands. Several college athletes, some with huge social media followings, already have plans to profit once the rules change.
According to the NCAA database, in 2020 40% of rosters in the NCAA’s two biggest sports, football and basketball, were made up of Black athletes. Only 13% of the U.S. population is Black, so to have this ruling come down for an organization that is overrepresented by Black people is a big win in the social climate of the country.
The council’s recommendation said athletes could employ “a professional services provider for NIL activities” and should report all such endeavors “consistent with state law or school and conference requirements to their school.”
The NCAA Division 1 Board of Directors is expected to approve the recommendation Wednesday.