The NCAA as it once existed is now a memory.
On Wednesday, the governing body announced every collegiate student-athlete in the country can begin cashing in on endorsements and other agreements linked with their names, images and likenesses when the new month begins on Thursday.
As ESPN’s Dan Murphy notes, the news comes right as more than a dozen states were set to make it illegal for the NCAA to prevent athletes from putting pen to paper on such financial deals.
“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 in the prepared statement. “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.”
Murphy added athletes might still be banned from endorsing alcohol, tobacco or gambling services per policies and laws embraced by specific states and universities. However, athletes can sign with agents, attorneys or other representatives without suffering any sort of NCAA punishment.
“Today, NCAA members voted to allow college athletes to benefit from name, image and likeness opportunities, no matter where their school is located,” Texas State University president and Division I board of directors chair Denise Trauth said. “With this interim solution in place, we will continue to work with Congress to adopt federal legislation to support student-athletes.”
Schools are still prohibited from paying athletes directly and from using payments as recruiting tools. It’s believed multiple big-name athletes will announce their first deals as soon as Thursday morning.