As of press time, former Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm has 441,000 followers on Instagram. Former Georgia men’s basketball guard Anthony Edwards has 182,000. Promotions on such social media platforms could’ve been beneficial for both while at Georgia, but they weren’t given the option.
In the past, the NCAA has restricted any monetary compensation for college athletes, but that’s about to change.
On Wednesday, the NCAA's Board of Governors announced that it supported a proposed rule change that would allow student-athletes to receive compensation for their name, image and likeness. The NCAA’s decision makes for a drastic change from its insistence that amateurism couldn’t coincide with student-athletes receiving compensation.
Maybe the NCAA’s board is contrite. Maybe what is taking place is an actual change of heart, and the board has figured out how to implement compensation that will still “protect college athletics and college athletes.” Or maybe, the board felt the pressure to act after Florida’s name, image and likeness bill was passed by the state legislature on March 13 and was to be enforced on July 1, 2021.
It shouldn’t be considered a coincidence that the start of the 2021-22 academic year is when the NCAA’s rule change is to be in effect.
Within the proposal, any student-athlete would have the opportunity to receive compensation via social media, businesses they have started and personal appearances. The NCAA said it isn’t interested in placing a limit on the total amount of money an athlete could earn, which seems fair. However, the NCAA is looking to limit how much money an athlete could earn from particular endorsement opportunities, which does not seem fair.
It wouldn’t be a free market if that rule were to be in place — it would be a restricted one. An agreement between players and the NCAA surely wouldn’t take place, so this could be extremely subjective. Who’s to say how much an athlete could make on an endorsement deal?
All that would come of this is additional issues, pushing aside the fact that athletes would still not receive the same opportunities that other college students have available to them in a free market.
The NCAA also has made zero effort to put in place group licensing, which shatters fans’ hopes for the resurrection of video games like EA Sports’ NCAA Football.
It also has yet to be determined whether the NCAA will allow colleges to restrict shoe endorsements that could conflict with said college. So an athlete could be prohibited from signing with Adidas if the college he or she attends is under contract with Nike, which would limit options for the athlete and make the market wholly restricted.
We need to hold our applause for the NCAA. There’s still work to do.
I’m not expecting the NCAA to suddenly uproot the level of amateurism it has historically worked to preserve. But this proposal only places a Band-Aid over the issue, which will need to be replaced soon enough as the problem will persist.
We’re still in the early stages for this rule change, and the underlying details certainly still need to be worked out. The NCAA’s motto is “fairness,” but it remains to be anything but as the proposal currently sits.