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NCAA allows college athletes to profit off their name, image in major policy shift

The National Collegiate Athletic Association had come under pressure from state lawmakers and a unanimous Supreme Court decision in favor of college athletes.
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The NCAA will now allow college athletes to profit off of their names, images and likenesses under new interim guidelines, the organization announced on Wednesday.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association announced the new temporary rules just a day before state laws around the country regulating the student sport nonprofit came into effect.

NCAA President Mark Emmert said all college athletes "are now able to take advantage of name, image and likeness opportunities."

The NCAA’s decision to suspend restrictions on payments impacts nearly a half million college athletes, who as of Thursday can pursue sponsorship deals, online endorsements and personal appearances.

Over 10 states had laws set to go into effect Thursday that would have allowed student athletes to pursue profits.

Emmert said the NCAA "will continue to work with Congress to develop a solution that will provide clarity on a national level."

"The current environment — both legal and legislative — prevents us from providing a more permanent solution and the level of detail student-athletes deserve," Emmert said,

"The temporary policy will remain in place until federal legislation or new NCAA rules are adopted," the NCAA announced.

Lawmakers in Washington, in a rare display of bipartisanship, agreed earlier this month to work towards creating a “single national standard” for student athletes to profit off of their name, image and likeness.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the NCAA violated antitrust laws when it limited the amount students could receive for musical instruments, scientific equipment, postgraduate scholarships, tutoring, academic awards and paid internships.

NCAA student athletes create enormous cashflows for university, wrote Justice Brett Kavanaugh, noting that "[t]hose enormous sums of money flow to seemingly everyone except for student athletes."

In 2020, the NCAA signaled its openness to such name, image and likeness deals that could result in third-party income for college athletes.

At the time, the chair of the NCAA board, Ohio State University president Michael V. Drake, called the move "uncharted territory."

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.