NCAA Votes to Allow Athletes to Benefit From Likeness


The NCAA, National Collegiate Athletic Association, is changing its rules to possibly allow athletes to have financial opportunities through their name, likeness, or image. STREETER LECKA/GETTY IMAGES

Before Zion Williamson was drafted number one overall by the New Orleans Pelicans, he was the star player at Duke. Some think that Duke players wore Nike shoes because of Zion. Unfortunately for Zion, the school was making money off of Zion’s popularity and Zion was not.

But, following a much anticipated wait, the National Collegiate Athletic Association has unanimously voted to allow athletes to be paid based on their own likeness. Students can now profit from endorsement offers and other opportunities based on their popularity in the sport they participate in.

The vote comes after much controversy and debate over whether college athletes should be paid. Some argue that since they are in school on a scholarship, they don’t need to be paid and can try to work a job outside of the sport. In contrast, athletes are so committed and loaded with practices and school work, that they don’t have the time on their hands to work a job outside of school. Athletes and several others believe that if the schools benefit from the athletes’ dedication and hard work, the athletes deserve to get money because it’s their work and name. Each division is required to make new rules no later than January of 2021.

Prior to the vote yesterday, California had already passed the Fair Pay for Play Act, which allowed student athletes in California to be paid. It also allows for student athletes to hire sports agents to help them find different opportunities to be paid. The law prohibits the punishment of student athletes for making money starting in January of 2023.

North Carolina Congressman Mark Walker has introduced a bill to change the tax code. Under this bill, the NCAA would be forced to allow students to sell their name, likeness, and image and would go into effect in 2021. Walker isn’t the only North Carolina Congressman to take action. Senator Richard Burr has announced through a tweet that he would bring forward new legislation that would “subject scholarships given to athletes who choose to ‘cash in’ to income taxes.” The comment left many puzzled and confused about the senator’s reasoning.

The new rule is expected to take into effect in the near future.