KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A massive change is coming to college athletics.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association, or NCAA, is changing the landscape for how athletes can earn income. On Tuesday, they cleared the way to allow college athletes to make money from their names, images and likenesses.
WATE 6 On Your Side reporter Elizabeth Kuebel got reaction from former UT football players, who both threw their support behind the change.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said VFL Chavis Smith.
“I love it. Anything that you can do to help the kids out, because only a very small amount of those kids are going to go to the NFL. Only some of them are going to have those extremely large paychecks that you’ve got,” said VFL Daniel Hood.
The new ruling comes a month after California passed a law that would prevent athletes from losing their scholarships or being kicked off their teams for signing endorsement deals.
“These kids, especially on a Tennessee level, SEC level, they’re professional athletes. They’re up at 6 a.m., they’re finishing film and treatment at 8 p.m. Most people would say you’re a true professional in that sense, and that’s not even counting the time that you’ve got study hall, classes and things like that,” Hood said.
“If you did work you could only work like 20 hours a week and that’s not a lot making 8 dollars an hour. You’ve got some families that need help, you can take some of that money and send it home to your family, to your mom,” Smith said.
There’s still work to be done to determine how the change will work within NCAA rules, but the former athletes making it clear it’s a step in the right direction for the ones now on the field.
“I think they’re going to really, really appreciate it, and I think it will mean a lot to them to be able have that little bit of income into their lives,” Smith said.
According to the Associated Press, the NCAA and its member schools must now figure out how to impliment this proposal while not thretening the student athletes amature status.
The NCAA says it would like its three divisions to have a game plan in place by 2021.
Meanwhile, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey released this statement after Tuesdays announcement, saying:
“The action of the NCAA Board of Governors today is a step in the modernization of rules related to opportunities made available to student-athletes. We are proud of the support we provide to our student-athletes in the Southeastern Conference and believe it is important, whatever the future may hold, to maintain the elements of the current college athletics system that most effectively benefit student-athletes across the country. We look forward to participating in a process that will produce an outcome that is thoroughly considered, fair and beneficial to student-athletes and consistent with the principles and guidelines outlined today by the NCAA Board of Governors.”Greg Sankey