NCAA and US House Advance Name, Image & Likeness Legislation for Student Athletes

In a prior article, we talked about the potential benefit of Name, Image and Likeness legislation on DU student athletes – even though DU does not field a football team or benefit from significant basketball revenue.

The NCAA Board of Governors voted to support allowing its athletes to profit off endorsements and still maintain their eligibility beginning next year. The results of the vote were announced by the NCAA on Wednesday morning. The new rules must be approved by the NCAA’s three divisions before implementation. A January 2021 deadline has been set for that approval, which would allow the new rules to take effect for the 2021-22 school year.

Under the NCAA proposal, College athletes will be allowed to receive compensation for endorsing products or services as well as make money off their social media accounts and personal appearances. They can also be paid for their talents outside their sport, such as musical or other artistic abilities. Athletes will only be allowed to identify themselves by their name and sport. They will not be allowed to use school or conference logos as part of their endorsements.

The US House of Representatives did not wait for the NCAA January 1st, 2021 deadline.  The US House introduced a bill Thursday that would establish one federal standard for college athletes who wish to seek out endorsement deals. The Student-Athlete Level Playing Field Act would prohibit universities from restricting athletes from seeking out their own endorsement deals while also providing Congressional oversight to the process.

If passed, NCAA athletes would have few limitations on their endorsement choices, as the bill would only restrict sponsors related to alcohol, tobacco, controlled substances, adult entertainment or gambling. Athletes also could also hire an agent as long as they notified their school.

As with most legislation, the House bill would supersede any restrictions imposed by the NCAA legislation.

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