NCAA unanimously approves student-athletes profiting off names, images and likenesses

The NCAA Board of Governors voted unanimously Tuesday to take steps to allow student-athletes to profit off of their names, images and likenesses.  

With legislators in major states taking action to bypass NCAA rules on college players’ ability to profit, the athletic association voted to “modernize its rules” as it pertains to amateurism in collegiate sports. 

“I think what the Board of the NCAA is trying to communicate is that the current rules must be modernized,” said President Jane Close Conoley. “I am in favor of moving closer to treating our students-athletes like we treat all our students. What everyone wants to avoid however is a pay for play situation in which a student-athletes become employees.”

According to the NCAA, the decision was made to embrace change to provide the best college experience for student-athletes.

The change positively affects Long Beach State as the mid-major program seemed as though it was in limbo without the financial ability to match more prominent divisions such as the PAC-12 and the brief inability to compete in NCAA tournaments after the signing of Senate Bill 206.   

“This is an important first step to enhancing the student-athlete experience while maintaining our collegiate model,” said Andy Fee, Long Beach State director of athletics.

Discourse around the NCAA’s hesitance to align with paying student-athletes came after California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB 206 into law. California became the first state to allow student-athletes to profit off of their athletic prowess.

The bill is set to take effect Jan. 1 2023. 

NCAA President Mark Emmert spoke Oct. 4 about Newsom passing SB 206 and stated his displeasure of the outcome. 

“This is just a new form of professionalism and a different way of converting students into employees,” Emmert said. “[They may be] paid in a fashion different than a paycheck, but that doesn’t make them not paid.”

With California being the first to pass a law pertaining to student-athletes profiting off their name, image and likeness, there was no indication on whether other states would follow suit, leaving the state in a disadvantageous decision with the NCAA.

California’s passing of the law did start a movement among other state legislators. Some states are looking to pass legislation as early as next year.

“There are several states moving very quickly to enact new legislation but we must be thoughtful and examine how changes will impact student-athletes and college sports,” Fee said. “I am optimistic we can find a path forward to balancing additional opportunities for our student-athletes without harming a system we love.”

With the NCAA change in motion, it is now up to each conference to release details on what its new laws will allow in regards to student-athletes receiving profits. 

“Big changes may be coming,” Conoley said. “We will send Big West feedback before the January deadline.”

Editor-in-chief Austin Brumblay contributed to this article. 

This article was updated Oct. 29 at 3:21 p.m. with a statement from Long Beach State Athletics Director, Andy Fee. 

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