Market Overview

NCAA Will Let College Athletes Profit Off Their Name, Likeness

NCAA Will Let College Athletes Profit Off Their Name, Likeness

The NCAA's governing board voted unanimously Tuesday to let college athletes make money off their names, images and likeness.

The board said all three NCAA divisions will allow student athletes the opportunity to profit from their image — though not to be paid explicitly for their participation or performance in sports.

The rule change follows the passage earlier this year of a California law that would have required the same thing. NCAA officials faced the prospect that athletes at NCAA-sanctioned California schools would be governed under different rules from those in the rest of the country. As California considered its measure, the NCAA had said for months it was studying the possibility of a rule change that could allow athletes to make money on the side for things like advertising, video game characters and other outside uses of their likeness.

"We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” Michael V. Drake, chairman of the NCAA's Board of Governors, and president of The Ohio State University, said in a statement.

Why It's Important

The decision led immediately to calls on Twitter for Electronic Arts Inc (NASDAQ: EA) to bring back its NCAA basketball and football games it used to publish. Before, it published the games without players' names — under new rules it could conceivably use names and clear images of the players, and compensate them.

It also will be of interest to sports apparel companies like Nike Inc (NYSE: NKE), Adidas AG (OTC: ADDYY) and Under Armour Inc (NYSE: UAA), who could be in a position to negotiate with college players to pay them to wear their gear, or appear in advertisements, depending on how the final rule is crafted.

The board said the NCAA's new rules must:

  • Make clear that compensation for athletics performance or participation is impermissible.
  • Reaffirm that athletes are not employees of the university.
  • Prohibit "inducements" for players to choose a particular school over another, in other words, arranging payment opportunities for players to come to a school.
  • Treat student athletes the same as other students unless there's a compelling reason to differentiate them.
  • Keep education and the collegiate experience priorities
  • Keep the distinction clear between college and professional opportunities
  • Enhance "principles of diversity, inclusion and gender equity."

Related Links:

'They're In A Catch-22': California Law Allowing College Players To Profit From Their Image Has Big Implications

Will Legal Sports Betting Force The NCAA To Pay Its Athletes?


Related Articles (EA + NKE)

View Comments and Join the Discussion!

Posted-In: NCAA NCAA basketball NCAA FootballNews Legal Sports Top Stories General Best of Benzinga