The calls for the NCAA to pay its student-athletes have been growing louder in recent years, with many different plans circulating.
On Tuesday, the NCAA announced a plan to start investigating those possibilities. Per a release from the organization, a working group has been assembled to look into allowing players to profit from their names, images and likenesses.
Per the release, a wide-ranging group of NCAA members will get together to discuss the options:
“This group will bring together diverse opinions from the membership — from presidents and commissioners to student-athletes — that will examine the NCAA’s position on name, image and likeness benefits and potentially propose rule modifications tethered to education,” said Val Ackerman, commissioner of the Big East and working group co-chair. “We believe the time is right for these discussions and look forward to a thorough assessment of the many complexities involved in this area.”
However, Gene Smith of Ohio State made it clear that this does not mean the NCAA is going to start paying players:
“While the formation of this group is an important step to confirming what we believe as an association, the group’s work will not result in paying students as employees,” said Gene Smith, Ohio State senior vice president and athletics director and working group co-chair. “That structure is contrary to the NCAA’s educational mission and will not be a part of this discussion.”
Even with that qualification from Smith, this does seem like a step in the right direction. We’ll see where it goes from here, but this will be something athletes will be keeping an eye on, for sure.