Today is a watershed day in sports history.
The NCAA conducted a conference call explaining how the committee they put together to deal with the possibility of student-athletes finally cashing in on their name, image and likeness, will allow that to happen.
— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) April 29, 2020
The NCAA said today that it supports a proposal that allows college athletes to sign endorsement contracts and receive payments for other work provided the schools they attend are not involved in any of the payments. They will allow athletes to appear in advertisements, but they wouldn’t be allowed to “reference the school they attend or use any of the school’s logo or branding in the advertising.”
The new ruling is, of course, more extensive than that, but that’s the skinny of it.
Game on, with the branding of amateur athletes.
ED O’BANNON IS SOMEWHERE SMILING
This has been a long and arduous battle between student-athletes and the NCAA, who has refused to adjust with the times, forcing some of the best high school talent to go overseas or seek other leagues rather play under the oppressive claw of the NCAA.
Ed O’Bannon was at the top of his game, leading the UCLA Bruins to a National Championship while earning Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA Tournament. He went on to be drafted by the then-New Jersey Nets with great fanfare.
That, unfortunately, was the pinnacle of his NBA experience as a three-year career in the league was mostly filled with discussion about what he was supposed to be due to really bad knees, poor player development, and loss of confidence.
But in 2009 O’Bannon agreed to allow himself to become the lead plaintiff against the NCAA and the Collegiate Licensing Company in a lawsuit alleging the violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act after his image and likeness were used in the NCAA Basketball video game from EA Sports.
This resulted in a $40 million settlement to be given to nearly 100,000 current and former collegiate athletes whose likenesses were used in EA Sports video games since 2003.
— The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) February 26, 2018
However, the age of lawsuits being filed by exploited student-athletes against the NCAA appears to be over. With the ability to brand themselves and the ability to bypass college for viable monetary opportunities in the G-League, the game is officially changed.
5-Star Recruits Flee To G League
Just as this ruling comes down, 5-star point guard Daishen Nix decommits from UCLA to enroll in the NBA’s new G League Pathway program. Nix is the No. 6 rated Point guard among 2020 ESPN 100 recruits (No. 20 overall player)
So far 3 Top ESPN 100 5-star prospects have shunned college to enter G League Pathway Program; Nix, Jalen Green, who is a potential No. 1 pick in the 2021 Draft and Isiah Todd who was previously committed to Michigan.
NBA insider Woj spoke about the reaction around the NBA:
“Two things…this is what the NCAA said it wanted when Condoleezza Rice’s commission said that one and done should be eliminated, players who don’t want to be in college basketball should have a legitimate option out there…now it’s with the G League professional pathway program
The NBA would prefer to have one-and-done finished, they have not agreed with the Player’s Association on how that would look and a deal that would allow players to go right into the NBA, so this is really a bridge program and what’s changed is the money.
The NBA’s willingness to pay between $250K-$500K for the elite players… which is much better than the previous program that paid $125,000 and you have to go through the rigors of a hectic G-League travel schedule.
This benefits both sides. The NBA gets its elite prospects in an environment that they can control and maybe in a year or two, who knows what college athletics will look like (as far as top tier talent) because the G-League Pathway program is now a training ground for future NBA players.”
The rub had always been that the NCAA gave itself permission to profit off the likenesses of players while forbidding them from doing so themselves. The hypocrisy was so thick a nose-less man could smell the stench a mile away. Something had to change.
April 29, 2020: to forever be remembered as a day when common sense and decency usurped greed.
The #NCAA emerges from its cave, a cave that has provided shield from doing what it right for far too many years.
A positive step forward, for sure. Finally.
— Brandon Tierney (@BrandonTierney) April 29, 2020
People called Lavar Ball crazy for calling out the hypocrisy and shielding his kids from it. Certain conservative types lashed out at LeBron when he called the NCAA exploitative because Bron never went to college. The committee’s ruling proves that the NCAA has been doing it wrong all along and now the players who are good enough, smart and enough and marketable enough can benefit from their brands without the NCAA restricting their self-advancement and development.
That’s the true college experience. Shackles off.