College Players May Make Money Off Their Fame, Powerful N.C.A.A. Panel Recommends

The interim guidance that advanced on Monday, the nuances of which may very well be tweaked in the future, including on Wednesday, would ...


The interim guidance that advanced on Monday, the nuances of which may very well be tweaked in the future, including on Wednesday, would apply to Division I, which has more than 170,000 student-athletes and features the richest and most famous leagues in college sports, including the Power 5: the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern Conferences. Officials in Divisions II and III, which together include about 750 schools and more than 320,000 players, are expected to vote on similar plans this week.

“I think it’s a recognition that we have to adjust our business practices as it relates to the student-athletes,” Richard J. Ensor, who has been the commissioner of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference since 1988, said of the proposed policy. N.C.A.A. leaders, he said, were “in a position where they had to build a policy that allowed us to start reacting to the reality, but recognizing that there’s a lot to be learned over the next months and we’ll need to adjust as it goes along.”

In October, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, which is separate from the N.C.A.A. and includes about 77,000 student-athletes, voted to let players earn money for public appearances and endorsements.

Leaders of the N.C.A.A., the most influential governing body in college sports, insisted for months that they were eager to move forward with new guidelines to allow players greater economic opportunities. And while it is true that many leading figures in athletics have urged the 115-year-old association to loosen its longstanding restrictions, the college sports industry is largely acting now because it had very little choice.

Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, Ohio and Texas all have laws or executive orders coming into effect on Thursday that will allow college athletes to earn money off their names, images and likenesses. More than a dozen other states have passed similar measures with later effective dates. But Congress, in a setback to the N.C.A.A., has not reached an agreement to override the state statutes and offer a national standard through a bill.

Although many administrators still hope that the federal government will eventually act, the array of state laws — often maligned by athletics officials as a “patchwork” — threatened to create an immediate imbalance in college sports. Schools in states with legal guarantees that students could potentially earn money, the reasoning went, would be better positioned to recruit prospective players, tilting the greatest future talents toward a handful of schools. The N.C.A.A.’s decision to intervene, executives hope, will stave off the worst potential disparities for at least a short time.

Still, the path to Monday’s recommendation was speckled with infighting, caution, threats and last-minute maneuvering. No recent development was more consequential than a Supreme Court ruling last week that undercut the N.C.A.A.’s approach to antitrust law and pushed the industry toward conceding more rights to athletes than top executives once anticipated.

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Newsrust - US Top News: College Players May Make Money Off Their Fame, Powerful N.C.A.A. Panel Recommends
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