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NCAA’s New Rule Creating Student Millionaires

Anyone involved in collegiate sport knew immediately that the NCAA’s policy change regarding Name, Image and Likeness endorsements was a big deal.

For the first time, the NCAA will now allow athletes to earn money from their involvement in collegiate sports, and this week the case of Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young has shown just how powerful this change will be for student athletes.

The NCAA has reversed its stance on athlete compensation, opening the door to athletes—and licensing companies—making money from their name, image, and likeness. The changes took place on July 1 this year.

The decision, which breaks with a long-held tradition, came just hours before new laws or executive orders were to be handed down in more than a dozen states. Those legislative efforts would have had the same effect, so the NCAA rule change is essentially a case of ‘if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em’. The new policy will remain in place until federal legislation or new NCAA rules are adopted.

“This is an important day for college athletes since they all are now able to take advantage of name, image and likeness opportunities,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “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. The current environment, both legal and legislative, prevents us from providing a more permanent solution and the level of detail student-athletes deserve.”

In an article in The Athletic,  Alabama coach Nick Saban says his star quarterback is already signed up for close to $1 million in deals under the new name, image and likeness (NIL) policy.

“Certain positions, probably, enhance opportunities to create value, like quarterback, and our quarterback (Young) already has approached ungodly numbers — I’m not going to say what they are — and he hasn’t even played yet. Hasn’t even started,” Saban said at the Texas High School Coaches Association’s annual convention on Tuesday. “It’s almost seven figures. And it’s like, the guy hasn’t even played yet. But that’s because of our brand.”

Young is a highly rated player and is Alabama’s presumptive starter for the 2021 season. He played in seven games in 2020 as Mac Jones’ backup and attempted 22 passes. He was a five-star recruit and the No. 2 overall player in the Class of 2020, according to 247Sports’ Composite Rating.

The NCAA’s new policy provides the following guidance to college athletes, recruits, families, and member schools:

  • Individuals can engage in NIL (name,  image, likeness) activities that are consistent with state laws where the school is located. Colleges and universities may be a resource for state law questions.
  • College athletes who attend a school in a state without a NIL law can engage in this type of activity without violating NCAA rules related to NIL.
  • Individuals can use a professional services provider for NIL activities.
  • Student-athletes should report NIL activities consistent with state law or school and conference requirements to their school

While the rules are the same for all athletes, Saban also made the point that the impact will be very different for individual players, and for different types of sports.

Football and basketball are typically the most popular sports in the NCAA, so endorsement deals are expected to focus on the top athletes in those categories. A top athlete in a less popular sport, like fencing, badminton, track and field, and so on, would be expected to attract far less lucrative deals.

NCAA Will Allow Athletes To Earn Money On Name, Image and Likeness

NCAA Tournament Scores $20–35 Million in Licensed Retail Sales

First Group Licensing Program For NCAA Athletes Launched At UNC

 

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