Currently, NCAA athletes would be deemed ineligible if they received payment for their image or likeness (just ask former Georgia star Todd Gurley). But change could be on the way in the form of endorsement deals, Big East commissioner Val Ackerman said in a recent interview.
“That’s one that’s actually under consideration I believe by the NCAA,”Ackerman told SI.com. “It’s actually a time right now where student-athlete interests are being closely examined.”
One common argument against compensating athletes in the past has been the issue of determining the value of each individual player, specifically for football and men’s basketball, large-revenue sports. For example, should the third-string offensive lineman make the same amount as the starting star quarterback? And how would either of those compare to a non-revenue sport athlete?
If endorsement deals were allowed, the market would play itself out, as it does in professional sports, with the most marketable players getting compensated for the use of their image or likeness. However, it’s unclear just how far along these NCAA discussions are and how potential deals would be regulated.
“I don’t have an answer for you on that one today,” Ackerman said. “But I will say that (potential endorsement deals for athletes) and a number of other topics are under review, and I think rightly by the NCAA and it’s very possible that over the course of the next year or two as these ideas work their way through the legislative system you could see changes.”