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NCAA approves recommendations for college athletes to profit from endorsements, social media

“Allowing promotions and third-party endorsements is uncharted territory," the NCAA board governor said in a statement.
Image: NCAA logo
The NCAA logo is displayed on the court during the NCAA college basketball tournament in Philadelphia on March 21, 2013.Matt Slocum / AP file

The NCAA took a significant step Wednesday toward allowing college athletes to begin earning money for endorsements and promotions.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association's Board of Governors announced that it had approved recommendations for a change that the board chairman called "uncharted territory."

Under the recommendations, student-athletes could receive income for third-party endorsements, as well as social media opportunities, other business ventures and personal appearances that fall within certain guidelines.

“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 University.

College athletes would be allowed to identify themselves by the school they attend and the sport they play, but would not be able to use conference or school logos or trademarks, the board said.

“Allowing promotions and third-party endorsements is uncharted territory," Drake said in a statement.

The board wants its recommendations to go into effect at the start of the 2021-22 academic year.

Val Ackerman, commissioner of the Big East Conference and co-chair of the NCAA Board of Governors Federal and State Legislation Working Group, noted that the coronavirus pandemic could affect college athletes.

"We hope that modernized name, image and likeness rules will further assist college athletes during these unprecedented times and beyond," Ackerman said.

The NCAA governs 450,000 athletes at more than 1,200 schools nationwide. The organization's move follows California Gov. Gavin Newsom signing a first-in-the-nation bill that cleared the way for college players to be paid from endorsement deals.

The California legislation, which takes effect in 2023, allows student-athletes to be paid in endorsement deals and prohibits the NCAA and the schools from banning those compensated athletes.

Newsom signed the bill while appearing on NBA star LeBron James' HBO show "The Shop" and called the current system of unpaid athletes "a bankrupt model."

David K. Li contributed.