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Andy Hodges

College athletes will be on their own generating income in NCAA proposal

New rules will allow players to get out and hustle up their own money … as long as the school signs off on it. It’s also a sign the NCAA has just given up arguing about it.



Don’t get too worked up over the latest NCAA proposal for athletes to be able to profit from their name, image and likeness because they won’t be getting any additional money from their schools.

No, they will be on their own to figure out how to make the money. The difference is that simply puts them in the same league with every other college student.

And the NCAA won’t get anything from it.

“The NCAA is not in a position to demand anything in return,” USA Today columnist Dan Wolken told Derek Ruscin and Zach Arns (Ruscin & Zach) on ESPN Arkansas Wednesday afternoon. “They don’t have anybody on their side.”

While the common misconception is the NCAA figures out a way to make money on everything, they won’t be able to on this one simply because the schools will not be able to have a role in the athletes making money.

“The NCAA is not in a position of strength here,” Wolken said. “They hope it’s enough to satisfy lawmakers because NCAA doesn’t want states having 50 different sets of rules. That becomes problematic. The NCAA is trying to get Congress to do something (to get them off the hook).”

Here are the key points in the proposed rules that have come out in the last few days and will be voted on in January, per a source to

• Allow student-athletes to make money by modeling apparel as long as that apparel doesn’t include school logos or other “school marks.”

• Allow athletes to make money from advertisements. Athletes would be allowed to identify themselves as college athletes in advertisements, but would not be allowed to reference the school they attend or include any school marks in the advertisement.

• Prohibit athletes from marketing products that conflict with NCAA legislation, such as gambling operations or banned substances. Individual schools would also be allowed to prohibit athletes from marketing products that do not line up with the school’s values.

• Allow athletes to hire an agent to help procure marketing opportunities, so long as that agent does not seek professional sports opportunities for the client during his or her college career.

• Require athletes to disclose the details of all endorsement contracts to their athletic department. The working group would recommend further discussion about whether a third party should be involved in overseeing these disclosures in a way that prevents endorsement deals from becoming improper recruiting enticements.

The first one is the most interesting because the athletes will not be able to hold press conferences and have a soft drink sponsorship deal wearing school apparel. Or wear that apparel at any personal appearances.

In case you’re wondering it’s been that way for a long time in the NFL. That’s why you see familiar faces in commercials wearing some generic uniform.

They also will have to have the school approve any deals their representative can put together for them.

But they will have to be public.

“What they are trying to do is create a framework with name, image and likeness where a player has to disclose it to their school, those deals vetted that they fall into a similar range for that type of deal,” Wolken said Wednesday.

Oh, and these rules do not prohibit players from having donors involved in these deals, according to a source to the Associated Press.

“Trevor Lawrence could have his own passing academy,” the person told the AP, referring to the Clemson quarterback who would not be able to have any licensed Tigers logos on the T-shirts.

It will put added pressure on the players. Gone is any privilege they have of just being a kid. When you jump into the business waters it’s grown man territory and that means it’s not all sunny skies and fields of clover.


“If you’re an athlete spending a lot of time trying to figure out how to make money on Instagram you’re going to have to choose at some point,” Wolken said. “Some will thrive in that environment and some will not. It’s part of being an adult.”

The bottom line is like in any business some will succeed wildly while others, well, fall on their face. It’s just in most other businesses they aren’t already under a spotlight before they start.

It’s opening a door the NCAA has tried to keep closed for about 80 years.

“As long as the school’s not involved and doesn’t look like it’s recruiting it’s going to be allowed,” Wolken said.

In other words, the NCAA has given up and is just trying to keep some kind of authority.

How long they make it work is anybody’s guess right now.