ATLANTA, Ga. (AP) – The NCAA Board of Governors has taken the first step toward allowing athletes to cash in on their fame. The board voted unanimously on Tuesday to clear the way for the amateur athletes to “benefit from the use of their name, image, and likeness.”
The vote came during a meeting at Emory University in Atlanta after Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith and Big East Conference Commissioner Val Ackerman presented a progress report to the NCAA Board of Governors.
In a news release, board chair Michael V. Drake said the board realized that it “must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes.”
It is an important early step in a process that could take months or even years to work its way through the NCAA various layers.
NCAA rules have long barred players from hiring agents and the association has steadfastly refused to allow players to be paid by their schools, with some exceptions.
A California law set to take effect in 2023 would prevent athletes from losing their scholarships or being kicked off their teams for signing endorsement deals.
Other states could put laws in place earlier than that.
The NCAA says it represents some 450,000 athletes nationwide.