NCAA Ruling Favours Student Brand Ownership

By Ben Hamill - November 01 2019

A unanimous vote of approval cast by the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) board of members will going forward allow athletes at college level to profit from their “names, images and likeness”. The NCAA has ruled that by-laws capable of governing the process have to be formulated by as early as January 2021.

What the decision and proposed by-laws essentially entail is that athletes at college level will now be in a position to share in the literally billions of dollars created by the images and personas of those athletes, instead of the money going for the sole benefit of just about everyone else involved with the colleges in their capacities as business entities.

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California Did It First

The NCAA vote follows a similar ruling passed recently by the state of California, namely the Fair Play to Pay Act. The act allows for students to generate an income from their athletic efforts and input, as well as permitting students to hire and appoint agents. The hiring of agent representatives was previously considered to be an act that ultimately negated the “amateur” status of students, but this concept too, has been officially reviewed and reversed.

More than a dozen states have discussed the implementation of similar bills to the one passed by California and the NCAA’s approval is but the latest action in a long line of motions in the same direction.

There Will Be Strict Guidelines

The NCAA has however stressed the fact that clear guidelines and rules will apply and that in order for the new by-laws to be implemented in a smooth and controversy-free manner, those rules will have to be strictly adhered to. Laws essentially act as “guard rails” and will prevent money from becoming the main incentive. Integrity in sports and selection must be safeguarded at all costs, said the NCAA following the passing of the bill. Future processes must especially not be permitted to interfere with decisions relating to transfers and selections.

Also crucial, said the NCAA, is that schools will in no way be permitted to benefit by receiving any form of payment for having a type of ownership hold over any of its students. To this end, schools will not at any point be considered to be “employers”. Students will be responsible for how they choose to go about the business of marketing and benefiting form their own personal “brand”. It’s of utmost importance, said the NCAA, that students remain students.

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