2:02 PM PDT, July 1, 2021
College athletes can get paid for the right of their name, image and likeness (NIL) beginning Thursday, the NCAA announced. The new temporary policy coincides with NIL laws set to go into effect in seven states, and will now allow college athletes to make money off appearances, endorsements and autograph signings without losing their eligibility.
This is the first time in NCAA history that college athletes in every state have been allowed to make money off their fame, ESPN reported.
“With the variety of state laws adopted across the country, we will continue to work with Congress to develop a solution that will provide clarity on a national level,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said Wednesday, according to CBS News.
He added that the policy is temporary until there is federal legislation that makes NIL laws uniform across states, or until the NCAA develops its own set of permanent rules.
“The new interim policy provides college athletes and their families some sense of clarity around name, image and likeness, but we are committed to doing more,” Division III Presidents Council Chair Fayneese Miller said in a statement, CBS News reported.
The decision comes shortly after the Supreme Court ruled that NCAA’s long-time policy to limit the benefits colleges can give athletes violates anti-trust laws. “The labels cannot disguise the reality: The NCAA’s business model would be flatly illegal in almost any other industry in America,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote in his opinion, Sports Illustrated reported.
The NCAA has long been the center of controversy over their restrictions over “education-related benefits,” meaning that athletes are largely barred from any income related to the billion-dollar industry that is college sports.
While all Americans have a right to profit from their publicity or NIL, college athletes previously forfeited those rights as a part of scholarship agreements, ESPN reported. Meaning, college athletes did not profit directly from their features in advertisements or products.
In 2019, California passed a law making it illegal for its schools to bar its athletes from making money, and other states have passed such measures since in an attempt to make their states as competitive for student athletes, according to ESPN.