NCAA Balks at Efforts to Loosen Restrictions on Athletes’ Images in Ads

San Antonio—The NCAA has temporarily put the brakes on a proposal to provide companies with greater flexibility in their promotional use of college athletes’ names, images, and “likenesses.” (See my story from Monday outlining the pros and cons of the proposal.)

The measure had triggered a mixed reaction among many officials in Division I. Some felt it would be a much-needed retooling of outdated rules; others felt it would exploit athletes and make them vulnerable to unintended consequences of the legislation.

Ultimately, when the proposal came up for a vote in the Division I Legislative Council during its two-day meeting here at the NCAA Convention, the 32 members of the group couldn’t agree. The proposal now goes back out to the Division I membership for further comments, and the council will take it up again at its spring meeting.

It won’t be easy to get athletic officials in Division I to settle on a mutually agreeable rule, said Shane Lyons, associate commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference, who chairs the council. “Everybody has a different comfort level,” he said. “It’s a matter of education, making sure our membership really understands what can and cannot be done with that legislation.”

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