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NCAA reverses course, may allow student-athletes to market themselves, and it could be worth millions for some of college sports’ biggest stars

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) — the governing body responsible for overseeing college sports — announced Tuesday afternoon that it would begin the process of allowing student-athletes to market themselves for financial gain.

The statement, released via the NCAA's website, stated that the organization's board of governors "voted unanimously to permit students participating in athletics the opportunity to benefit from the use of their name, image, and likeness in a manner consistent with the collegiate model."

While the details regarding what, exactly, constitutes "a manner consistent with the collegiate model," the board did release a list of guiding principles by which the NCAA's three divisions should abide in initiating the "modernization of [their] bylaws and policies:"

  • Assure student-athletes are treated similarly to non-athlete students unless a compelling reason exists to differentiate.
  • Maintain the priorities of education and the collegiate experience to provide opportunities for student-athlete success.
  • Ensure rules are transparent, focused and enforceable and facilitate fair and balanced competition.
  • Make clear the distinction between collegiate and professional opportunities.
  • Make clear that compensation for athletics performance or participation is impermissible.
  • Reaffirm that student-athletes are students first and not employees of the university.
  • Enhance principles of diversity, inclusion and gender equity.
  • Protect the recruiting environment and prohibit inducements to select, remain at, or transfer to a specific institution.

Tuesday's announcement comes as a major reversal for the NCAA, which had pushed back on California Governor Gavin Newsom's law that loosened the criteria for collegiate athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness starting approximately three years down the line.

The move is also just days removed from the NFL Players Association and National College Players Association's dual statement that pursued similar ends.