UConn Athletics Director favors NCAA NIL ruling

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Athletic Director David Benedict addresses an audience at a press conference on March 1st, 2016. Benedict supported the monetization of student-athletes  following the NCAA board’s unanimous vote Tuesday to begin the process of changing its rules to allow collegiate athletes to monetize their image and likeness.  File Photo/The Daily Campus

Athletic Director David Benedict addresses an audience at a press conference on March 1st, 2016. Benedict supported the monetization of student-athletes following the NCAA board’s unanimous vote Tuesday to begin the process of changing its rules to allow collegiate athletes to monetize their image and likeness. File Photo/The Daily Campus

University of Connecticut’s Athletic Director David Benedict has expressed support for the NCAA’s decision to allow student-athletes to monetize their name, image and likeness.  

“I am supportive of student-athletes being allowed the opportunity to monetize their name, image and likeness and am looking forward to learning more about the legislative process to determine how we and our student athletes can move forward in a thoughtful way to ensure reform is achieved without sacrificing ethical standards,” Benedict said in a statement yesterday.  

Benedict’s statement came following reports by ESPN that the NCAA board unanimously voted on Tuesday to begin the process of changing its rules to allow collegiate athletes to monetize their image and likeness.  

Following weeks of mounting pressure after the Governor of California passed a law permitting student-athletes to profit from their image, the NCAA’s decision comes as a surprise move.  

“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletics” NCAA Board Chair Michael Drake said. “This modernization for the future is a natural extension of the numerous steps NCAA members have taken in recent years to improve support for student-athletes, including full cost of attendance and guaranteed scholarships,” he added.  

Though no clear timeline was given for implementation of the changes, the organization said modernization should occur within specific guidelines and principles, which include maintaining priorities of education and making clear the distinction between collegiate and professional opportunities.  

“I think this is a positive step forward for the NCAA, but I want to reserve judgement on how positive a step forward it is until we see more details,” Dr. Laura Burton, a professor in UConn’s sport management program, said. “In principle, it seems the NCAA recognizes that athletes should be allowed to use their talents for monetary gain, as other university students are currently allowed to do. So I am optimistic that this will be beneficial for college athletes. But again, I want to see the new rules adopted at each division level before fully endorsing.” 

Earlier this month, a Connecticut lawmaker, whose sentiments were supported by UConn’s football and women’s basketball coaches,  expressed that Connecticut should follow California and other states moving ahead on the issue.  

“The landscape of collegiate athletics has changed significantly over the last several decades and the NCAA’s definition of a student-athlete needs to be modernized.” Benedict said.  

 The NCAA has long argued that its revenue goes toward scholarships and other opportunities for students.  


Nicholas Martin is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at nicholas.r.martin@uconn.edu.

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