ND lawmakers in “wait-and-see” mode after NCAA vote

Published: Oct. 29, 2019 at 6:45 PM CDT
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The NCAA Board of Governors unanimously agreed to work on a policy allowing student athletes to profit from their own likenesses.

It comes after a number of states, including North Dakota, looked at legislation forcing the organization's hand.

From now until the 2021 session, lawmakers say all they can do now is wait- wait and see what direction the NCAA goes, see how other states react and if they even need to intervene.

The NCAA announced it will work on reversing its longstanding policy on athlete's being paid for their image or likeness. Tuesday's decision is welcome news for two North Dakota lawmakers working on a bill to force the organization's hand, but it doesn't mean everything is solved.

"We know the attention given to a program like Alabama and USC is far different than a program like UND and NDSU and so we also have to keep an eye on how this is going to impact the recruiting landscape going forward,” said Rep. Thomas Beadle, R-Fargo.

"If they seem to drag their feet and other states might seem anxious to get this in place before 2023, you may see a desire for North Dakota to join a movement to move that up by a year or so,” said Rep. Corey Mock, D-Grand Forks.

The NCAA board said it wanted to avoid legal battles with states over the issue. The move is causing concern that lower revenue and women's sports could lose out at the new money.

"The football team will benefit. Potentially the basketball team and some cases the hockey team. Yet we've seen in other campuses including Grand Forks, they've eliminated some of the programs that don't make revenue. This might make it difficult for those programs to exist,” said Rep. Scott Louser, R-Minot

There's also concern over how much the NCAA will try to regulate and whether states will continue to try and poke holes.

"We can't have 50 states with 50 different rules. That's not going to make sense. Let's have the NCAA take their approach right now. I don't know a timeline on it but let's get started on it and get the discussion rolling,” said Sen. Scott Meyer, R-Grand Forks.

The NCAA didn't provide a timeline for when a draft of rules would be available. This news is obviously making a big splash nationally. North Carolina Senator Richard Burr tweeted this afternoon he'll be introducing legislation to treat scholarships like income, subjecting those scholarships to income tax.

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