The NCAA has long believed college athletes should be amateurs, and that core principle has barred those who compete in this multibillion-dollar industry from profiting off their fame. But after years of discussion and debate, the college sports landscape will soon be rocked by seismic change that allows athletes to receive compensation while competing for their schools.

Twelve states have laws going into effect July 1 that will allow athletes to make money off their name, image and likeness (NIL). Under pressure from lawmakers, the NCAA abandoned its long-standing belief that athletes should not receive payments, and the governing body scrambled to enact a national NIL framework. The NCAA Division I Council recommended the suspension of the amateurism rules that prohibit NIL opportunities for all athletes, regardless of state. The Board of Directors can formally adopt the interim policy June 30.

NCAA-wide legislation will help keep college sports from becoming a patchwork system in which athletes in some states can earn money while athletes in others cannot. College sports leaders still hope for a federal law that will create a uniform standard for college athletes’ ability to receive compensation.

Here’s what you should know:

What to know

  • What is NIL?
  • How did college sports reach this point?
  • Which states have already passed bills?
  • When will NIL go into effect?
  • Is there going to be a national law?
  • Where does the NCAA stand on the issue?