College athletes have fought for the right to be compensated since the dawn of time, and after years of screwing them out of billions of dollars, the NCAA has finally found its moral compass—kinda.
On Wednesday, its Board of Governors announced that it supports rule changes that will allow student-athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness and secure that long-overdue bag beginning in the 2021-22 academic year.
According to ESPN, schools are prohibited from having involvement “in any of the payments,” but college athletes will be allowed to sign endorsement deals and pursue other lucrative offers because about damn time:
The NCAA’s news release said athletes will be allowed to appear in advertisements and can reference their sport and school, but they would not be able to use school logos or branding in those advertisements.
It’s also important to note that while the board’s recommendations remove significant restrictions, they also bestow the NCAA and its respective schools with the power “to regulate the types of deals athletes might be allowed to sign in the future and the monetary value of individual contracts”—which will inevitably lead to some world-class bullshit because it completely negates the purpose of free markets.
“Allowing promotions and third-party endorsements is uncharted territory,” Michael Drake, the board’s chairperson, said in a statement.
In finally allowing student-athletes to cash out, one of the NCAA’s biggest concerns is preventing boosters and “overzealous individuals” from using endorsements as a recruiting method or a way to incentivize athletic performance. There’s also the issue of determining fair market value so that student-athletes either don’t get jerked or aren’t ridiculously overpaid in order to gain favor.
“It’s vitally important that we maintain some level of integrity and fairness,” Val Ackerman, co-chair of the Big East Conference, said. “We believe guardrails on boosters will help us mitigate the potential of recruiting inducements.”
In order to make these proposed changes a reality, the NCAA will turn to Congress for assistance.
The working group’s report says the NCAA should ask the federal government to help provide “guardrails” that would create one law that applies to all schools and also to “[e]stablish an antitrust exemption for the Association” that would provide cover from future lawsuits challenging potential caps the NCAA would place on the type of endorsements athletes could make and the value of those endorsements.
“It’s clear we need Congress’ help in all of this,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said.
This is absolutely a step in the right direction, but let’s not forget that the NCAA is still outright refusing to pay student-athletes, they are just allowing them to provide for their families by securing the bag elsewhere. Imagine your job expecting you to work 40-hour weeks for free but giving you the green light to freelance during your off time. That sounds crazy, right? Welllllllllllllll, that’s the type of bullshit the NCAA is on.
And until it does right by student-athletes, it’s just another exploitative organization profiting off of black labor.