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NCAA President Wants Help From Congress Regarding Name, Image, Likeness

President of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Mark Emmert speaks to the media ahead of the Men's Final Four at U.S. Bank Stadium on April 04, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Maxx Wolfson/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Pressure can be a wonderful tool to get things moving forward. That is exactly what is happening right now with name, image, and likeness in regards to NCAA athletes.

For as long as the NCAA has been around there has always been a hard-line stance from them in regards to players not earning anything in addition to a scholarship.

Well, cost of attendance came to be with student-athletes earning a few thousand bucks and college athletics did not collapse as some foolishly predicted.

The next stage of the evolution comes from California where the governor signed a bill that would allow student-athletes to profit off of one’s image. On top of that politicians like Utah senator Mitt Romney are advocating for student-athletes and their rights.

With all of that pressure, the NCAA finally came around and said they are going to look at allowing players to profit off of their name, image, and likeness. The details are not yet clear and NCAA president Mark Emmert said as much at a sports business conference this week.

Specifically, he talked about there being nearly a free-for-all with athletes in regards to some state bills that have passed or are in progress.

“If you had a completely unfettered sponsorship model, like some state bills are anticipating. The nature of that can quickly slide into an employer and employee relationship,” said Emmert.

NCAA Wants To Work With Congress?

KSL Unrivaled knows it is inevitable that college athletes will eventually get paid and the NCAA has finally realized that as well.

Emmert in a bind now that the California bill has passed and other states are doing their own iteration. The NCAA wants the United States Congress to get involved to help sort this out.

“I have certainly never heard anybody, including in Congress, that wants sports run out of Washington, D.C.,” Emmert said at a business conference in Manhattan. “There’s an interest in providing support because some of these issues can’t be really resolved without congressional action. You can’t have 26 or 30 different state laws so you need something at a federal level that becomes an umbrella that organizes all of that. But nobody is talking about the federal government running college sports.”

There are a lot of details to work out with what is to come next and there are multiple people in the U.S. Congress who want to facilitate this and make sure things are done the right way to benefit as many as possible and in a fairly equitable way.

Does The NCAA Have An Agenda?

KSL Sports’ Mitch Harper is supportive of the idea of getting a larger body involved to organize how players can earn money off their most marketable years.

“I think it is a great idea. It highlights that the NCAA is acknowledging that we are getting to the point that there is going to be name, image, and likeness benefits to these athletes.” Harper said. “I have always thought that the student-athletes should be getting a cut not necessarily from TV contracts but to have the ability to do an autograph session or do a radio show and make some money from it.

“College sports is no longer a million-dollar industry, we are talking billions. It is not each individual university but the whole organization is making billions of dollars. I don’t think every student-athlete is making tons of money but they should get a little bit of a cut.”

“I like the fact that the NCAA is getting a little progressive because I think they are one of the most crooked organizations around so it is refreshing,” Harper added. “At the same time, I am thinking to myself, ‘what angle they are taking here to hose the athletes and get their way in return.'”

There also is speculation of a lawsuit against the NCAA. KSL Sports Scott Mitchell has the inkling that the NCAA knows they would lose if they went to court on this issue.

“College football is a big business, just like the NFL. There is so much revenue there is no way [name, image, and likeness] will hurt the game,” Mitchell said. “I believe it will actually enhance college athletics.”

“They are going to get a lawsuit and they have probably been informed they will lose and if you want to go through this you will look really bad and lose at the end of the day. [The NCAA] might as well figure out how to get involved in this and actually how to profit,” Mitchell continued.

The NCAA doesn’t need to overthink this process. They are already promoting the star players from the major sports and that will still happen. If they do it right the NCAA and its schools could make even more money with big-name players appearing in local and national advertisements.

With these players getting the spotlight and endorsing brands that will lead to more people knowing about said player which in return could lead to watching a game they might not have before or purchasing team gear.

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