NCAA takes first step to allow student athletes to get paid

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The NCAA took a major step Tuesday when its Board of Governors voted unanimously to allow student athletes to be paid.

“It means the NCAA is no longer going to prohibit student athletes from receiving compensation for the use of their name, image and likeness in things like endorsemenets, video games, et cetera,” explained University at Buffalo professor of Practice in Sports Law Nellie Drew.

The NCAA has reported annual revenues of roughly $1 billion, generated in large part by student athletes who don’t get paid.

“I’m really enthusiastic about what the board has done,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert. “It’s a very big step toward modernization of NCAA rules to provide more opportunity for our students, so that’s an inherently good thing for everybody.”

The three NCAA divisions must now update their rules to allow this change by 2021.

But this announcement is just the start, according to Drew, and it remains unclear what exactly it will mean for colleges and universities as well as their athletes.

“The success of our sports programs, like any others, will be a factor whether a student athlete elects to come to a particular school,” she said. “I would have to say success tends to breed success anyhow. I guess we’ll have to see where that plays out.”

NCAA board members must now figure out regulations for this policy – including how this change will apply to colleges and universities in Western New York.

“It’s a much more complex issue than people see it as, and I understand that,” Emmert said. “But I think the schools are going to be able to work through this process and come up with rules that make great sense for the student athletes and allow students to continue their collegiate model of athletics. That’s what we’re all trying to do here.”

This must all be figured out by the 2021 deadline when the new policy takes effect.

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