College athletes, Gene Smith is here for you.
“We need to come up with a method to allow our student-athletes to take advantage of their name, image and likeness, make sure it’s something we can regulate, and make sure it’s something that’s not tied to athletic ability,” he said. “We don’t want to turn this into a pay-to-play model or a situation where they’re compensated for their athletic ability. We’re trying to find a way to keep it tethered to the educational process.
“It’s a complex issue, and we feel good about the direction we’re headed in. But the reality is we’ve got to work with the federal government to come up with a national law,” he said.
Though name, image and likeness attention tends to be focused on the fraction of top athletes who are destined for the pros, Smith said Olympic sport athletes stand to benefit significantly because many of them are on partial scholarships that cover between 15 and 30 percent of their college costs.
“Many of them leave with debt … so they’ll take advantage of this opportunity to hopefully reduce the debt they incur getting their education,” he said.
So… kids, feel free to bring in those dollars, as long as they find their way back to the schools in some form or fashion. I figure Gene is just months away from putting together a company store proposal so kids will have an official NCAA-approved resource where they can take their hard-earned bucks — at a profit, of course.
At least at Ohio State, they’d be able to get their tats on campus. Progress, of a sort.