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NCAA Board of Governors approve student-athlete compensation

Tua Tagovailoa signs autographs at Alabama's 2019 Fan Day. Under new NCAA guidelines approved Wednesday, players such as Tagovailoa could be compensated for things such as signing autographs and making personal appearances. (News Wire Service)

The National Collegiate Athletic Association Board of Governors announced April 29 they are taking steps toward student-athletes being compensated for third-party endorsements and promotions both related and non-related to the athletic program. Essentially, players will be paid for their name, image, and likeness by the 2021-22 calendar seasons.

Before this decision, players were banned from receiving any items for their athleticism or popularity, including but not limited to – money, vehicles, clothing, and other compensation.

The announcement also stated that even though the board approved this decision, the NCAA still believes there will be bumps in the road posed by outside legislation and legal factors.

“The board also discussed the potential challenges to modernizing rules posed by outside legal and legislative factors that could significantly undermine the NCAA’s ability to take meaningful action.”

The Presidential Subcommittee is recommending that the NCAA look to Congress to assist in any legal roadblocks by taking the following steps:

  • Ensuring federal preemption over state name, image, and likeness laws
  • Establishing a “safe harbor” for the NCAA to provide protection against lawsuits filed for name, image and likeness rules
  • Safeguarding the nonemployment status of student-athletes
  • Maintaining the distinction between college athletes and professional athletes
  • Upholding the NCAA’s values, including diversity, inclusion, and gender equity

Allowing college athletes to be compensated for the amount of effort they put into the program they represent, especially popular players at bigger universities, has been a relevant conversation for a number of years. Athletes, fans, and coaching staff have argued that colleges should not be allowed to make billions of dollars on a player’s name alone while that individual doesn’t receive a penny. Those opposed to this topic believe that athletes are compensated enough by full-ride scholarships that allow players to not pay for the amount of personal training, meal programs and tuition, a greater chance of making it to professional leagues, and other commodities that are attached to these scholarships.

This news comes less than a week after No. 1 college basketball prospect Jalen Green announced he would not take his talents to a university, but instead the NBA’s Gatorade League. Green signed a $500,000 contract, will receive a full year of training to develop his skills before entering the NBA draft, and is also receiving a scholarship to any university of his choice if he chooses to pursue a degree at a later date. Sports fans immediately took to social media to weigh in on the situation, ultimately berating the NCAA once more for not compensating college athletes. Many speculated that many high school athletes will follow Green’s footsteps in order to skip the college process and be compensated at a much earlier time frame.

GRCC Athletic Director Bill Firn noted that junior colleges have no affiliation with the new direction the NCAA is taking.

“While I think this is a good step in the right direction by the NCAA, their ruling will have little to no impact on our student-athletes at this (junior college) level,” Firn said.