NCAA President Mark Emmert said Tuesday that he is “especially frustrated and disappointed” that the association will not be moving this week to change its rules regarding athletes’ ability to transfer and to make money from the use of their names, images and likenesses. However, he insisted these changes still will occur.
“All of our college athletes are profoundly disappointed and, I suspect, even angry,” Emmert said. “But we need to make clear we’re still committed. We’re still determined to move forward with name, image and likeness modernizations, and certainly with changing Division I transfer rules. We promised this to our students. We’re going to get it done.”
Emmert did not provide any details about a new timetable for votes on the proposed rules changes. His remarks came in a speech that was part an online version of the NCAA’s annual convention. The moves have been anticipated for more than a year, and were set to impact athletes beginning in the 2021-22 school year.
A Florida law that will enhance NIL opportunities for athletes at schools in that state is set to take effect July 1.
NCAA logo (Photo: Keith Srakocic/The Associated Press)
But last week, college presidents, conference officials and athletic administrators began discussing delaying the vote on the name, image and likeness (NIL) rules until there’s more clarity about federal government action. Then, on Friday, the Justice Department’s antitrust division leader, Makan Delrahim, sent a letter to Emmert that expressed strong concerns about the association’s direction on both NIL and the transfer rules.
The name, image and likeness rules change would enhance athletes’ ability to make money from their name, image and likeness, but with certain potential restrictions about which Delrahim expressed concerns.
The scheduled transfer rules change vote would address the five remaining Division I sports in which athletes generally are prohibited from playing for one year if they change schools. Delrahim was critical of an aspect of the transfer process that is not currently set to be changed.
Emmert responded with a letter Saturday saying he was recommending that the association’s governing bodies delay their scheduled votes on the issues and that NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy had contacted Delrahim’s office to set up a meeting.
On Monday, the NCAA Division I Council tabled the issues. The Division I Board of Directors is expected to do the same on Thursday.
“Because of an enormous amount of issues surrounding all of this — issues that frankly are beyond our control – (voting to approve the changes) is now a very ill-advised thing for us to do at this stage,” Emmert said.
“We’re going to do it in a way that’s consistent with all the laws that are applicable to the NCAA,” he added. “We think we’ve done that already. We think we have it right. But it’s been called into question. And so, now, we need to pause to answer those questions. But again, let me be clear: Our commitment to the modernization of our rules and doing what’s best for our student-athletes remains resolute.”