NCPA White Paper Lays Out the “Players’ Plan” for College Athlete Name, Image, and Likeness Compensation

The NCPA's white paper answers many questions surrounding college athlete NIL pay - competitive equity, Title IX, employee status, group licensing, athlete representation certification, and more.

January 15, 2020

The National College Players Association (NCPA) published a white paper laying out the “Players’ Plan” for college athlete name, image, and likeness (NIL) compensation.  

The United States Senate Commerce Committee, the Florida House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, and numerous individual lawmakers who have introduced NIL legislation have requested a copy of the white paper as they continue to gather expertise on this issue.

The NCPA is providing assistance to members of the United Stated Senate and House of Representatives as well as 13 of approximately 25 states that are moving to enact college athlete NIL pay.

NCPA Executive Director Ramogi Huma stated, “’The Players’ Plan’ is a clear roadmap and resource for lawmakers and their staffs who are working hard to protect college athletes against NCAA rules that stifle players’ economic freedom and equal rights.”

The white paper includes a list of founding members on its newly established Oversight Board, which is filled with industry experts and college athlete advocates to empower current college athletes to make informed decisions about NIL revenue received from group licensing, financial skills development, and other important areas.  Importantly, over 75% of the individuals on the 18-member NCPA Oversight Board are former college athletes.

Among the many notable NCPA Oversight Board members is former NCAA Executive Vice President Mark Lewis who took the lead in brokering the NCAA’s current $8.8 billion TV deal with CBS/Turner.

“Mark’s support and expertise will be an asset to college athletes and the NCPA.  It is an authoritative industry counterweight to NCAA sports’ false narrative and poor excuses used to deny college athletes the freedom to pursue NIL compensation and proper legal representation.  It underscores the fact that, from an industry perspective, there is a viable, equitable path forward that truly supports college athletes.  It symbolizes a future in which college athletes and college sports leaders can work cooperatively and fairly toward a brighter future,” stated Huma.

Lewis, who served as a key NCAA witness against college athlete NIL compensation in the O’Bannon v. NCAA lawsuit, released a statement about his current support for the NCPA and its pursuit to allow college athlete NIL pay and proper representation:

“Like many large and complex institutions in our society, college sports have evolved awkwardly over time.  In recent years the key focus on campus and within conferences has been to maximize revenues.  That focus as the highest priority has created unprecedented revenues, and the trend will likely continue into the future.  The increase in revenue has led to teams, coaches and players doing more, especially on television, which means more meetings, more practices and more games than ever before in college sports (last year’s two teams in the College World Series each played more than 70 games, and the trend is now finding its way into youth sports).  Many college athletes spend more time in structured activities than players in the NFL.

In prioritizing revenue growth, college sports have also migrated away from some of the distinctions that used to exist between professional sports and college or amateur sports.  Effectively from a marketing and revenue generation perspective, their models are indistinguishable.  And while the revenue models have evolved to largely be the same, there has not been a similar evolution on how the participants are treated.  The models used in the 1950’s and 1960’s largely still exist to govern the fairness of competition, which includes compensation or other forms of athletes financially benefiting from their efforts and notoriety.  Essentially the time demands on young men and women as well as the revenue allocation system have become too unbalanced or unfair to the players when compared to other elements of college athletics, and I think the work that Ramogi and his team are doing needs to be supported.  I am happy to support their efforts as a volunteer member of the NCPA Oversight Board.  Changes are needed, and I think that as those discussions move into more formal settings, having a group that’s sole focus is on doing what’s best for college athletes is an idea whose time has come.”