NCAA to allow athletes to cash in on their fame

FILE - In this April 19, 2019, file photo, an athlete stands near a NCAA logo during a softball game in Beaumont, Texas. The NCAA is poised to take a significant step toward allowing college athletes to earn money without violating amateurism rules. The Board of Governors will be briefed Tuesday, Oct. 29 by administrators who have been examining whether it would be feasible to allow college athletes to profit of their names, images and likenesses. A California law set to take effect in 2023 would make it illegal for NCAA schools in the state to prevent athletes from signing personal endorsement deals. (AP Photo/Aaron M. Sprecher, File)
By  | 

ATLANTA (AP) -- MSU Athletic Director Bill Beekman released a statement regarding the NCAA Board of Governors, who have taken the first step toward allowing athletes to cash in on their fame.

“At Michigan State we remain laser-focused on the well-being of our almost 800 student-athletes participating in 25 varsity sports. It is our highest priority," Beekman said. “As this national conversation evolves we will better understand the impact of the NCAA Board of Governors’ recommendations on the welfare of our student-athletes. In the coming months, the principles and guidelines will be interpreted and we will have a better opportunity to understand the implications of today’s announcement.”

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.

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.”

A key NCAA task force is expected to provide an update on whether it would be feasible to allow athletes to profit from their names, images and likenesses while still preserving amateurism rules for the nation’s largest governing body for college athletics.

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith and Big East Conference Commissioner Val Ackerman are leading the working group, which will present a progress report to the NCAA Board of Governors at Emory University in Atlanta this week.

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.

Copyright 2019 Associated Press. All rights reserved.