Gene Smith to Co-Chair Working Group Examining NCAA's Position on Name, Image and Likeness Benefits

By Dan Hope on May 14, 2019 at 3:58 pm
Gene Smith

Could the NCAA finally allow student-athletes to profit off of their name, image and likeness?

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith will play a role in determining whether that happens.

The NCAA announced Tuesday afternoon that it has “appointed a working group to examine issues highlighted in recently proposed federal and state legislation related to student-athlete name, image and likeness.”

Smith has been selected as one of two co-chairs for the group, along with Big East commissioner Val Ackerman.

According to the NCAA's announcement, "the working group will study modifications of current rules, policies and practices" to determine whether any changes to the NCAA's current policies should be made.

“This group will bring together diverse opinions from the membership – from presidents and commissioners to student-athletes – that will examine the NCAA’s position on name, image and likeness benefits and potentially propose rule modifications tethered to education,” Ackerman said in a statement. “We believe the time is right for these discussions and look forward to a thorough assessment of the many complexities involved in this area.”

The NCAA also states, however, that the group will not consider any concepts that would allow schools to pay student-athletes directly.

“While the formation of this group is an important step to confirming what we believe as an association, the group’s work will not result in paying students as employees,” Smith said in a statement. “That structure is contrary to the NCAA’s educational mission and will not be a part of this discussion.”

Instead, the working group "will focus on solutions that tie any changes to education; maintain the clear demarcation between professional and college sports; and further align student-athletes with the general student body."

The working group has been tasked "with writing a set of overarching principles to guide each division as it devises consistent legislation," with a final report due to the NCAA's Board of Governors in October.

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