×

NCAA Will Let College Athletes Take Part in Sports-Marketing Bonanza

College athletes just got a crack at some of the money that typically flows to their professional counterparts.

The NCAA ruled Tuesday to allow student athletes to accept revenues from the licensing of their names, images and likenesses, a move that is likely to upend the economics of college sports, where top football and basketball players, among others have had to forego the millions that often come with fame on the gridiron, court or playing field.

“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” said Michael V. Drake, chair of the NCAA’s board of governors and president of The Ohio State University, in a statement issued after the ruling body came to a decision at a meeting in Atlanta. “Additional flexibility in this area can and must continue to support college sports as a part of higher education. This modernization for the future is a natural extension of the numerous steps NCAA members have taken in recent years to improve support for student-athletes, including full cost of attendance and guaranteed scholarships.”

The NCAA made its decision after Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, signed a bill earlier this month that would allow college athletes to hire agents and strike endorsement deals. That decision was to have taken effect in 2023. The ruling would have pit some college athletes against a core tenet of NCAA play: that students should accept nothing in compensation for their skill other than an education.

The new decision is likely to have college athletes working to secure multi-million dollar agreements with manufacturers of athletic clothing and gear, among other products and send dozens of young sports hopefuls seeking representation from talent agencies and other representatives.

College sports represent a multi-billion dollar endeavor, and have helped give rise to the annual “March Madness” men’s basketball championships, as well as regional cable networks devoted entirely to a particular regional conference of universities and colleges. CBS and the company now known as WarnerMedia agreed to pay $8.8 billion in 2016, for example, for an eight-year deal that allowed their TV networks to broadcast the entire suite of the men’s tournament. That money benefits the sports organization and the universities it governs, but never the athletes whose feats draw millions of viewers to the games.

The NCAA board said it made its decision based on input collected over several months from a working group of college administrators, athletics directors and student-athletes themselves. that group will continue to gather feedback through April and then refine its recommendations, and then to devise new rules governing commercial opportunities “no later than January 2021.”

Among the concerns that rose to the fore were making certain education remained paramount for college athletes; ensuring athletes were not paid for performance or participation; and maintaining policies against inducements that would prompt athletes to select, remain at or transfer to a particular school.

“The board’s action today creates a path to enhance opportunities for student-athletes while ensuring they compete against students and not professionals,” said Mark Emmert, president of the organization, in a statement.

 

 

More Biz

  • Frontrunners Emerge As BBC's Tony Hall

    Frontrunners Emerge as BBC Boss Tony Hall Set to Leave Broadcasting Behind

    As the U.K. industry reacts to news of Tony Hall’s intention to depart the BBC this July, top-level executives including Charlotte Moore and Tim Davie as well as external contenders such as Channel 4’s Alex Mahon are beginning to emerge. Variety understands that Lord Hall, who has headed the BBC for seven years as director [...]

  • Recording Academy President/CEO Deborah Dugan participates

    Executive Assistant Preparing Lawsuit Against Ousted Grammy Chief

    In the latest twist in the increasingly bitter exit of Deborah Dugan from the Recording Academy after just five months, the ousted president/CEO is about to face a lawsuit from her former assistant, Claudine Little, who has retained former Harvey Weinstein/ Charlie Walk attorney Patty Glaser to represent her, two sources tell Variety. The news was [...]

  • Two Rivers Media Buys Out Parent

    Two Rivers Media Buys Out Parent Kew Media Group's Stake In Business

    Two Rivers Media has bought out parent group Kew Media Group’s minority stake in the business. Formed by former STV Productions head Alan Clements in January 2019, the production outfit behind Channel 5’s recent “Susan Hill’s Ghost Story” launched with the backing of Kew, Noble Grossart Investments and Channel 4’s Indie Growth Fund. Noble Grossart [...]

  • Grammy Awards 60th Annual Grammy Awards,

    Recording Academy Paid Millions Annually to Outside Law Firms

    Among the concerns listed in a memo sent to the Recording Academy’s head of HR by president/CEO Deborah Dugan before she was placed on administrative leave Thursday was an item about the organization’s “exorbitant and unnecessary” legal fees to outside law firms, according to sources familiar with the document. According to the most recent 990 [...]

  • Chuck D of Public EnemyGods of

    Public Enemy’s Chuck D Slams Grammys Over Deborah Dugan Ouster

    Chuck D, frontman of Public Enemy — who are receiving the Lifetime Achievement Awards at the Grammys next week — posted a long statement on Instagram criticizing the Recording Academy over its sudden ousting of new president/CEO Deborah Dugan yesterday. Dugan, who had been in the job only five months, was placed on administrative leave after [...]

  • Any Given Wednesday With Bill Simmons

    Spotify in Talks to Acquire Bill Simmons' The Ringer: Report

    Spotify is in early talks to acquire The Ringer, the digital content and podcast network launched by ESPN alum Bill Simmons in 2016, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. A representative for Spotify declined to comment on the report. Reps for Ringer did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Spotify’s [...]

  • Deborah Dugan arrives for the 20th

    Deborah Dugan's Recording Academy Ouster Follows Multiple Tussles With Board

    “Change is afoot,” Deborah Dugan said more than once during interviews with Variety in the weeks before her shocking removal from her post as president/CEO of the Recording Academy after just five months on the job. During those conversations, Dugan spoke of changes she planned to make in the Academy’s staffing organization, its Board of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content