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Volume 26 No. 207
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Emmert Talks NIL At Annual NCAA Address, But Light On Details

Emmert expressed optimism in the progress the NCAA has made thus far on the NIL issue
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Emmert expressed optimism in the progress the NCAA has made thus far on the NIL issue
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Emmert expressed optimism in the progress the NCAA has made thus far on the NIL issue
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

NCAA President Mark Emmert held his annual state of college sports address on Thursday in Anaheim, but conversations around student athletes' NIL rights were "more about talking through solutions than producing one," according to Ralph Russo of the AP. Emmert said that the "public and political pressure the NCAA is facing" as it searches for a "way to allow athletes to make money off their fame is a symptom" of a larger problem. He said that the public's "trust in the NCAA to do the right thing for athletes has waned." Russo noted the NCAA's "short-term goal is to have recommendations" for its BOG in April that would "lay the groundwork for legislation to be voted on next January." All of that "could be trumped by what happens" in DC when federal legislators "step into the business of regulating college sports." The NCAA's presidential subcommittee of the federal and state legislation working group "met in person for the first time during the convention." Emmert said that he is "pleased with the progress this week," though he shared few details about how the options are "being narrowed" (AP, 1/23).

WORKING ON THE PRODUCT: ESPN.com's Dan Murphy noted the NCAA this week broke its NIL discussion into "three main areas: individual licensing, group licensing and 'work product,'" the latter of which is the "most likely area to change in the near future." Emmert said, "There's a clear consensus that we need to get those rules changed" (ESPN.com, 1/23). SI.com's Pat Forde writes student-athlete "work product" changes seem to be the "most likely development" to allow athletes to "make money from something outside of their actual competition" for a school. At the convention, there also has been "discussion of individual licensing, which could cover opportunities for sponsorships or endorsements, and group licensing, which could potentially be tied to a rebirth of the late and beloved NCAA video games." The Olympic model, which "opened up revenue streams in the late 20th century for those athletes," could "come into play." But after discussions with many administrators attending the convention, "nobody seems sure what the best path forward is" (SI.com, 1/24).

WHOLE LOTTA NOTHING: USA TODAY's Dan Wolken writes of the convention, "If you came here looking for answers or even hints about how the NCAA is going to allow college athletes to monetize their name, image and likeness in response to mounting political pressure ... your time might have been better spent at Disneyland." Even though the NCAA has "explicitly promised to have actual proposals on paper" before the next meeting of officials in April, it "didn't do much to instill confidence that the substance of what they're working on will satisfy those who believe the time has come for fundamental change in the way college sports operate." Now, the "fundamental question is the same as it was last October" when the NCAA BOD "started going down this road: Is college sports truly ready to open the door for athletes to capitalize on their likeness with all of the consequences that might bring?" (USA TODAY, 1/24). In L.A., J. Brady McCollough writes Emmert was "predictably light on detail but heavy on rhetoric meant to build consensus on a shared mission before the attendees returned to their respective campuses." Emmert only referenced pressure for NIL reform a "handful of times, once pushing aside the NIL issue as a 'symptom' of the larger problem of perceived unfairness within the model" (L.A. TIMES, 1/24).