Pac-12 tables Autonomy Session proposal on student-athlete business ownership

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NCAA Commits to More High-Profile Student-Athlete Waiver Process


SAN FRANCISCO – The Pac-12 Conference announced today that it has tabled its proposal to change current NCAA rules regarding student-athlete business ownership. This proposal – originally submitted to be voted on during this week’s Autonomy Session at the NCAA Convention – allows student-athlete business owners to use their names, images, and likenesses to promote those businesses as long as the businesses were not athletically related. 

Currently, the NCAA grants waivers around this issue, but student-athletes are not widely aware of the waiver system, and the waivers take time to obtain.  By tabling the proposal, the Pac-12 can now review its implementation with additional groups and reintroduce it at a later time.

The Conference issued the following statement regarding its decision: “While we continue to fully support this legislation as a way to ensure our student-athletes have the opportunity to participate in the full spectrum of campus life, we have decided to work with our student-athletes, universities, and peer conferences to develop legislation to be enacted as intended and move it forward as soon as possible.”

“In the interim, the NCAA has agreed to process waivers expeditiously and grant them consistent with the rationale behind our proposal and previously approved waivers. A better publicized waiver process will deliver on the key principle behind our original legislation: that student-athletes should be afforded similar opportunities to their cam-pus peers as it relates to entrepreneurial aspirations.”

For the next year, student-athletes must continue to seek waivers from the NCAA to be able to use their own name, image, and likenesses to promote their non-athletically related businesses ventures, be it a dog walking service, a catering company, a music career, or a mobile app. These requests are reviewed first by the NCAA staff, and, if the school wishes to appeal a staff decision, by the Division I Committee for Legislative Relief. Over the past two years, the NCAA has approved 30 such waivers with more than a third of those being granted since the Pac-12 introduced the proposal.

"The intent of this proposal is in line with our efforts to do more for student-athletes,” said Oliver Luck, NCAA Executive Vice President of Regulatory Affairs. “Student-athletes should be afforded similar opportunities to their campus peers as it relates to entrepreneurial aspirations. We will proactively educate the membership and student-athletes on the waiver opportunities and process, and will continue to grant appropriate waivers consistent with this principle in the coming year."

About the Autonomy Session
Eighty voting members of the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC will meet in San Antonio, Texas on Jan. 15 to consider a series of proposals as part of the Autonomy governance process that gives the five conferences the ability to enact NCAA rule changes in specific legislative areas. In addition to representatives from the 65 universities, 15 student-athletes will give a voice for the tens of thousands of current student-athletes in the five conferences. 

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