The NCAA Board of Governors has taken the first step toward allowing athletes to cash in on their fame.
The board voted unanimously on Tuesday to clear the way for the amateur athletes to “benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness.”
The vote came during a meeting at Emory University in Atlanta.
In a news release, board chair Michael V. Drake said the board realized that it “must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes.”
Current rules block athletes from making money off of their likeness, such as charging fans for autographs. In 2017, a kicker from the University of Central Florida was also declared ineligible by making money off his YouTube channel.
The move comes after a pair of Florida lawmakers put forward bills that would allow athletes to be compensated for their likeness.
House Democratic Leader Kionne McGhee and GOP state Rep. Chip LaMarca are behind those measures. McGhee released a statement Tuesday after the NCAA’s announcement.
“I am pleased to see the NCAA is finally following the lead of Florida and others to allow student athletes to earn money for the use of their name, image, and likeness,” McGhee said.
“While this is a great first step, we must insure Florida’s student athletes are provided fair treatment and long term protections found in my bill, HB 251.”
LaMarca also recently garnered support on his bill (HB 287) from GOP state Rep. Byron Donalds.
“Today was a big win for access to the free market for our student athletes nationwide and in Florida,” LaMarca said regarding the shift.
“I am cautiously optimistic about this news from the NCAA. We will continue working to make sure they keep the promises they have made to our student athletes today. I would like to thank Governor Ron DeSantis for his bold leadership on this issue.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis has said that he supports the change and reiterated that position Tuesday.
“Great news for college athletes in FL & across our country,” DeSantis wrote Tuesday on Twitter.
“I’m extremely pleased the @NCAA has realized that this is a matter of fairness & equity, & that these athletes should have the opportunity to receive appropriate compensation for the use of their name, image & likeness.”
California became the first state to make the move allowing athletes to be compensated for their likeness through legislation signed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Material from The Associated Press was used in this post.