The NCAA Board of Governors met Tuesday and unanimously approved the idea of allowing athletes the opportunity to benefit from their name, image and likeness.
The vote took place due, in large part, to the State of California’s recently passed law allowing college athletes the opportunity mentioned above.
Here is what soon will be the norm within college athletics. The NCAA’s new position will enable college athletes to sign endorsement deals, negotiate to have avatars of their identities published in video games, contract to sponsor camps, be paid to sign autographs, and get a check to have their last names appear on replica jerseys.
Obviously there are hundreds of details to be worked out from here, but it’s clear times are changing. Here are some of the questions and concerns I have with the upcoming changes.
Will college athletes receive while in college or will any compensation be accessible only after their collegiate experience ends? I have to believe the NCAA would prefer to have the money withheld until the athlete is done playing. If not, there will be huge income disparity amongst teammates.
I wonder if college athletes will be able to hire agents to help them negotiate deals? The NCAA has always been against agents so this could still be an issue that may see the courts. I have to believe athletes would lose out on the opportunity to utilize expert advice and review offers.
Who is going to decide what is or is not an appropriate endorsement deal for the athlete? There are a number of products the NCAA may not deem appropriate. Or what about this possibility? What if a college athlete wants to sign with Nike, but their school already has a deal with Adidas? Or imagine a player wants to sign a deal with a company that the school finds “inappropriate” for some reason or another. There are so many possibilities. Different rules would lead to different answers.
Last question. The fearful question that the NCAA has worried of forever. How will we know if an athlete’s endorsement offer is really compensation for them to play at a particular school?
Imagine the following scenario. A local car dealership is owned by an influential alumnus and booster of School A. Now imagine that alumnus pays a top recruit a substantial amount of money, say $100,000, in a reported endorsement deal. A month or so later, the recruit picks the alma mater of the booster who brokered the deal. You know this will happen.
These and many more questions will be answered soon. I struggle with this issue. I would prefer the college athletics to be as far removed from professional sports as possible. Yet, I firmly believe in everyone’s right to earn income in a legal manner.