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NCAA poised to move towards allowing student athletes to make money

The NCAA’s top decision-makers will meet on October 29 in Atlanta, Georgia, to discuss whether it would be feasible to allow athletes to profit from their names, images and likenesses while still preserving amateurism rules that are the bedrock of the organization’s existence.

The moves comes as the NCAA faces increasing pressure from lawmakers across the United States intent on following California’s lead by dismantling compensation prohibitions that currently apply to more than 450,000 student athletes in the US.

The NCAA board of governors is expecting to hear recommendations on how to move forward from Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith and Big East commissioner Val Ackerman at Emory University in Atlanta. “I don’t expect a report saying that we’re going to stay exactly like we are. I don’t think we’re going to get a status quo report,” Atlantic 10 Conference commissioner Bernadette McGlade said last week.

The California law, signed by Governor Gavin Newsom, would prevent athletes from losing their scholarships or being kicked off their teams for signing endorsement deals. That the bill does not come into effect until January 1, 2023, potentially gives the NCAA time to take its own national-level steps.

A possible place for the NCAA to start is allowing athletes to make money from non-athletic business opportunities, which is currently prohibited. According to the Associated Press, the NCAA wants to draw a line between allowing athletes access to money-making opportunities that have well-defined market value and those where payments could be arbitrary and used in lieu of improper recruiting inducements.

Such a stance would mean prohibiting an athlete from cutting a deal with a local business to appear in a commercial, for example, but letting athletes take advantage of opportunities to monetize their social media followings.

The NFL Players Association, meanwhile, also announced a “collaborative effort” with the National College Players Association to explore marketing of group licensing rights. The NCPA is a non-profit advocacy group comprised of former and current student-athletes that co-sponsored the California legislation.