Really, they’re not.
Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports
Yesterday the NCAA made a big show about new rules which allow student-athletes to receive compensation but once again yesterday’s show was a lot of bluster with little accomplished. A lot of places got sucked in to the headlines but there are a number of people who’ve seen this smokescreen before and can give Syracuse Orange fans the real deal.
You may not have read to the end of the 31 page document the NCAA released today. But I did.— andyhre (@andyhre) April 30, 2020
At the end, the admit that all today's announcement was, was another "hey, here are some ideas to consider" because the actual new rules proposal aren't being made until August. pic.twitter.com/0ueqFXxzhl
The NCAA wanted you to focus on this notion that athletes would be treated the same as students and not pay attention to this section of their release:
The board also discussed the potential challenges to modernizing rules posed by outside legal and legislative factors that could significantly undermine the NCAA’s ability to take meaningful action. As a result, it will engage Congress to take steps that include the following:
Ensuring federal preemption over state name, image and likeness laws.
Establishing a “safe harbor” for the Association to provide protection against lawsuits filed for name, image and likeness rules.
Safeguarding the nonemployment status of student-athletes.
Maintaining the distinction between college athletes and professional athletes.
Upholding the NCAA’s values, including diversity, inclusion and gender equity.
It’s unlikely that Congress in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and an election year is going to rush to take up the defense of the NCAA who is looking to avoid the state legislation which would loosen their control over the NIL issue.
The NCAA could have opened the door to NIL benefits but because they are the NCAA they want to make every single endorsement deal run through the schools. They want to keep the athletes from receiving money from endorsements involving alcohol or gambling or anything that a school deems to be against their values and most notably it would keep athletes from using their school images in endorsements to which Andy Staples explains
To make matters worse, they missed the easiest layup they’ll ever get. The way they plan to structure the rules would not allow for a resumption of the EA Sports “NCAA Football” video game. They would not allow players to be shown in their uniforms or anything bearing school marks. And because the schools are scared of the players operating as a bargaining unit, the current plan for the rules wouldn’t allow for group licensing.
Good news for athletes is that yesterday’s release doesn’t seem to be stopping states from moving forward.
Florida state Rep. Chip LaMarca, author of its NIL bill, on potential of the #NCAA filing legal action next summer to fight Florida's #NIL law:— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) April 29, 2020
"Let’s be honest, if the NCAA goes to court with a state looking to take care of their student athletes… what does that tell you?"
We’ll have to keep an eye on how this progresses as the NCAA continues to slow play this issue. Just remember don’t take the NCAA’s word for what they’re doing- find the sources who’ll give you the real scoop.