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New Opportunities in College Sports

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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It's a major moment in the history of college sports, one that comes with many new possibilities.

July 1st, 2020 introduces a defining new era of amateurism in college athletics, with student-athletes now able to profit off of their own name, image and likeness through business and endorsement opportunities. With numerous state governments previously implementing such laws, the NCAA formally embraced the move on Wednesday, reversing long-standing rules against such potential ventures. It's a major moment in the history of college sports, one that comes with many new possibilities. 

All NCAA athletes are currently able to make money through a wide variety of personal branding and marketing channels.

It's a development, corresponding with the overall expansion of college athletics from a financial, media and popularity standpoint, that has been needed for some time. So much about the scope and scale of college sports has grown almost-immeasurably in recent years, much less over the span of multiple generations; the start of a similar advancement for those who play the games is well overdue. As amateurism modernizes and becomes more reflective of the current climate, the NIL mandate is a major milestone.

There are certainly some unknowns as the NCAA moves forward into uncharted territory. Early results, especially, could very much be complicated and confusing to say the least. It will likely take time for important questions to be answered and for a new standard to settle in. All of this may be imperfect. More updates may be on the horizon. So much, pertaining to name, image and likeness, has happened so fast. Few even fully understand the new setup.

That said, players will now have groundbreaking new pathways to generate revenue and raise their profiles in a broader sense. The landscape adds an important new element to the wide-ranging and suddenly-more-comprehensive possibilities that exist for student-athletes today. This is a meaningful win for those who compete. It goes without saying that such opportunities have clearly been earned.     

Sports, even at the collegiate level, mean a lot to so many. The programs are leading names. So, too, are countless players. Recent branding rights for student-athletes don't just change the rules for those who compete, they, in many ways, correct them. Updated guidelines give players more control of their own brand and value.

Much of college athletics is a business. Now the players have the potential to be involved as well.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports