NCAA Likely to Finally Allow College Athletes to Profit off Their Name, Star Power

Tim Kelly
April 29, 2020 - 10:02 am
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The NCAA is reportedly planning to make a small concession to its top grossing athletes.

Wednesday, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the NCAA is nearing a new agreement that would allow players to make some profit off of their accomplishments without risking an NCAA rules violation:

The NCAA's official announcement on the ruling gives specifics on how players would be able to be referred to and presented in any literature promoting an endorsement or appearance:

"While student-athletes would be permitted to identify themselves by sport and school, the use of conference and school logos, trademarks or other involvement would not be allowed. The board emphasized that at no point should a university or college pay student-athletes for name, image and likeness activities."

It's not immediately clear how this would impact the sale of player jerseys, and whether players will get any sort of cut of jerseys sold using their number. Nothing in the announcement suggests they would.

Additionally, it's hard to know how this would impact the future viability of a college football video game. Without an agreement for players to be compensated for their likeness in a video game, EA Sports was forced to stop making their extremely popular annual college football video game after 2014. While this agreement may give some hope that the game could return, there's no indication that will be the case. NCAA players, of course, aren't represented by a union, so it would be nearly impossible for them to negotiate a deal that would allow the game to return and give them a fair cut of profits.

Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney famously - or maybe infamously - once said that he was against "professionalizing" college sports, saying that "there's already enough entitlement in this world as there is" and suggesting he wouldn't have interest in continuing to coach at the NCAA level in such a world. In April of 2019, Swinney signed a 10-year/$93 million extension to remain Clemson's head coach.

There's no indication that the NCAA has seriously considered a way to revenue share with the biggest names in football and basketball, despite the billions of dollars in television and stadium revenue that they produce.

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