College Players May Make Money Off Their Fame, Powerful N.C.A.A. Panel Recommends
As in the past, universities will not be allowed to pay salaries to players, and athletes will not be permitted to accept money from anyone in exchange for enrolling at a particular school.
The proposed policy is intended as a temporary fix until permanent rules are written or Congress intervenes. It would apply only to universities in 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.
“It’s a recognition that we have to adjust our business practices as it relates to student-athletes,” Richard J. Ensor, the commissioner of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference since 1988, said of the approach.
N.C.A.A. leaders 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” Ensor said.
In October, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, which is separate from the N.C.A.A. and includes about 77,000 student-athletes at mostly smaller schools, voted to let players earn money for public appearances and endorsements.
Leaders of the N.C.A.A. 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 acting now largely because it has 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. 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 in federal law.
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