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NCAA supports rule change allowing athletes to earn compensation, but advocates say athletes need more during pandemic

College athletes across the United States could soon be permitted to earn compensation under  a rule change being supported by the National College Athletic Association, the governing body for most college sports, but advocates for college athletes in California are calling on the NCAA to do more to help athletes amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The NCAA’s Board of Governors is supporting a rule change that would allow college athletes for the first time to make money off their name, image and likeness. The change would take effect at the start of the 2021-22 academic year. 

The NCAA began considering the rule change after Gov. Newsom last year signed the Fair Pay to Play Act, which defied NCAA rules by permitting college athletes in the state to make money from endorsements and other personal ventures. That law was scheduled to go into effect in 2023 but could now be moot since the NCAA’s rules seem poised to change.

Despite the likely rule change, the NCAA should be doing more to help college athletes during the coronavirus pandemic, said Ramogi Huma, executive director of the California-based National College Players Association. In a statement, Huma said college athletes are becoming increasingly vulnerable during the pandemic and called on the NCAA to implement its rule change immediately rather than waiting until fall 2021.