The NCAA promised a "robust" set of proposals in its upcoming name, image and likeness package, and it looks like the organization is going to deliver.
According to the Associated Press, the NCAA is preparing to vote on legislation that would allow college athletes to cut deals "with all kinds of companies and third parties, from car dealerships to concert promoters to pizza shops." While not explicitly stated, much of this market is expected to take place through the so-called influencer economy on social media.
Athletes would also be permitted to sell their autographs, personal memorabilia, conduct paid personal appearances and hold their own camps and clinics. Anticipating this change, schools have worked for months to equip their players with tools to capitalize on their images once they arrive on campus.
The NCAA proposal would allow athletes to go into business with individuals their school has a prior relationship with -- i.e., Big Jim Jack's Tractor Supply -- as well as companies that do not sponsor their school.
The recommendations come from a working group led by Ohio State AD Gene Smith and Big East commissioner Val Ackerman. Ackerman was the first president of the WNBA. The working group has been hammering out a plan for nearly a year.
This is a step beyond California's landmark Fair Pay to Play Act, the match that started this fire back in September. That law would, for example, bar a Cal athlete from signing a Nike endorsement, since Cal is an Under Armour school. Such a decision would be left up to each individual school (Let's be honest, though: Schools and shoe companies are going to work hand-in-glove here. See: college basketball.)
The NCAA long ago lost control of the name, image and likeness issue, and that inaction forced the college sports industry's hand to react quickly. Dozens of states have passed or are in the process of passing similar laws. Florida's is slated to go into effect next July.
In one area that could lead to issues, the NCAA plans to "create a mechanism to evaluate potential deals for fair market value and spot possible corruption," according to the AP. Athletes would be required to report any endorsement deals to their school and would face (presumably strict) disciplinary action for failing to report income.
Athletes would also be prohibited from wearing university branding in any appearances, a standard that is already common in pro sports.
One area that was not mentioned by the AP report is group licensing. Should the NCAA create some sort of mechanism that could collectively bargain for all NCAA and/or FBS athletes, the long-awaited return of the NCAA Football video game franchise could be on its way.
The NAIA is already at work on its own name, image and likeness legislation.
The NCAA is also moving forward with its plan to grant each athlete a 1-time waiver to transfer and compete immediately, per the AP.
The century-long status quo is on its way out in college sports. The question is no longer "if," but "when" and "how" -- and we're starting to get some answers there, too.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.