NCAA takes big step in allowing players to profit off of name, image and likeness… but don’t hold your breath for the return of college football video games anytime soon


The NCAA is officially moving forward on the NIL issue.

Back in late October, the NCAA announced that, “[i]n the Association’s continuing efforts to support college athletes, the NCAA’s top governing board voted unanimously to permit students participating in athletics the opportunity to benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness [NIL] in a manner consistent with the collegiate model.” Six months later, the NCAA took another huge step as it pertains to NIL.

Wednesday morning, the NCAA announced that its Board of Governors voted to support “rule changes to allow student-athletes to receive compensation for third-party endorsements both related to and separate from athletics.” Additionally, The Association “also supports compensation for other student-athlete opportunities, such as social media, businesses they have started and personal appearances.” An example of a personal appearance would include an autograph session.

While the NCAA will allow student-athletes to profit off their own NIL, they will not be permitted to use their school’s logo and trademarks.  Or their respective conferences, for that matter.

“The board emphasized that at no point should a university or college pay student-athletes for name, image and likeness activities,” the NCAA wrote on the NIL issue.

The specific NIL rules, which will, in part, allow players to hire agents and/or advisors for marketing purposes, are expected to be in place for the 2021-22 academic year.  Specifically, student-athletes should be permitted by the NCAA to profit off of their NIL in July of 2021.

“Throughout our efforts to enhance support for college athletes, the NCAA has relied upon considerable feedback from and the engagement of our members, including numerous student-athletes, from all three divisions,” said Michael V. Drake, chair of the board and president of Ohio State, in a statement. “Allowing promotions and third-party endorsements is uncharted territory.”

For those hoping that the NCAA working through the NIL issue will be the precursor to college football video games?  Don’t hold your breath.

At this time, the working group is also not recommending any changes to NCAA rules to permit group licenses of student-athlete NIL in what are characterized as group products (like video games). There are legal hurdles to such activity that preclude it as a realistic option for implementation at this time. The working group recommends that the NCAA continue to explore whether those legal hurdles can be overcome through efforts described in Section VI, so that this issue can be revisited in 2021 or later.

The video game issue aside, the NCAA has set an Oct. 31, 2020, deadline for their various levels of sports to craft NIL legislation.  A vote on said legislation is set for Jan. 31 of next year.