After years of controversy surrounding compensation for college athletes, the NCAA set the stage for just that with an interim name, image and likeness policy.
In news first reported by The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach and later confirmed in a release by the NCAA, all three of the NCAA’s divisions approved an “interim name, image and likeness (NIL) policy” on June 30, 2021.
According to the NCAA, “college athletes will have the opportunity to benefit from their name, image and likeness beginning [July 1],” and athletes will be able to partake in “NIL activities” regardless of the state they live in.
“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.”
The news came just over a week after the Supreme Court sided with former college athletes in a dispute with the NCAA over compensation rules.
For anyone worried about unfair compensation and players being paid to attend a specific school, Division II Presidents Council chair Sandra Jordan wrote that the new policy “preserves the fact college sports are not pay-for-play,” and “reinforces key principles of fairness and integrity across the NCAA and maintains rules prohibiting improper recruiting inducements”
The announcement was accompanied by a promise from Division I Board of Directors chair Denise Trauth that work will continue with Congress on more permanent federal legislation. The NCAA wrote that the temporary policy will remain in place until federal legislation or new NCAA rules are adopted
Players and teams across the country have already begun to take steps forward as part of this movement, with Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz leading the way with a trademarked logo a few days before the interim policy’s implementation.
The news also comes a few months after an announcement regarding the return of EA Sports’ college football video game franchise, and could allow for players to get compensated for their appearance in the game.
“The new interim policy provides college athletes and their families some sense of clarity around name, image and likeness, but we are committed to doing more,” Division III Presidents Council chair Fayneese Miller said. “We need to continue working with Congress for a more permanent solution.”