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NAIA passes name, image and likeness legislation

While the NCAA hems, haws and asks Congress for a bailout, the NAIA just got it done.

After announcing it was going to do so back in March, on Tuesday the organization announced it has officially adopted new legislation that will empower its athletes to capitalize on their name, image and likeness.

“This is a landmark day for the NAIA, and we are happy to lead the way in providing additional opportunities for our student-athletes,” said NAIA President and CEO Jim Carr. “The time was right for the NAIA to ensure our student-athletes can use their name, image and likeness in the same ways as all other college students.”

According to the announcement, athletes will now be permitted to receive compensation for "promoting any commercial product, enterprise, or for any public or media appearance." They will also be allowed to reference their status as an (Insert NAIA school here) athlete in said commercial enterprise.

The NAIA prepared this document clarifying what will now be allowed. Bask in how simple and freeing the new rules are.

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While the NAIA did not lead the charge here, they should be commended for being the first to rip the band-aid off. This will have an irrevocable consequence on athletes in that organization, for better or worse.

In an FAQ published Sept. 14, the NAIA says as much here (see bullet points four and five):

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This is a giant step into a dark room, and the NAIA officially took it anyway.

While Tuesday's announcement applies only to NAIA athletes, it does have major implications for the NCAA.

Simply by passing its own rule, the NAIA undercuts the idea that only the "haves" -- star football and men's basketball players at blue-blood schools -- will make money while everyone else is left out in the cold. Every single NAIA school is a "have not" by such definition, and yet the organization passed the new rule all the same, permitting its athletes to earn money -- as NAIA athletes -- on YouTube and Instagram, through offering private lessons, appearing in local commercials, or through any other avenue of commerce available to any member of society who is not a college athlete.

Actually, the end of that sentence is not specifically enough -- not anymore. It should read any other avenue of commerce available to any member of society who is not an NCAA athlete. NAIA athletes are now free to cash in.