Tuesday’s unanimous decision by the NCAA Board of Governors, affirming the rights of college athletes to benefit from the "use of their name, image and likeness” is just the first step on a long road.
As with anything involving the NCAA and rule-making, it won’t be simple.
And the athletic directors at Ole Miss and Mississippi State say they look forward to participating in the extensive effort that will be needed to put new rules in place by January of 2021.
“We recognize the important actions taken today by the NCAA Board of Governors to enhance name, image and likeness opportunities for student-athletes," MSU director of athletics John Cohen said in a statement released Tuesday night. "We will continue to support the best interests of our student-athletes and look forward to providing feedback to the SEC and NCAA that creates a fair structure within the guidelines of the NCAA working group.”
Where it will get complex is trying to balance financial opportunities for athletes with, as the Board of Governors emphasized, “the collegiate model” of amateurism that has already greatly evolved in the last couple of decades.
As NCAA schools navigate this new landscape, decisions on how to proceed will require more than just campus discussions.
That’s how Ole Miss interim athletics director Keith Carter sees it.
“We will look to our leadership at the conference level to guide us through the future steps of this complete subject matter,” Carter said in a statement on Tuesday. “As discussion continue we are hopeful for a fair and appropriate resolution that will benefit our student-athletes within the collegiate model.”
For his part, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey was quiet on the subject in the hours immediately following the NCAA’s announcement. There was no official statement from the league office on Tuesday, and the last tweet from Sankey's personal Twitter account was from Sunday.