OSU AD Smith named co-chair of group to study athlete compensation

Joey Kaufman
Ohio State Buckeyes defensive lineman Robert Landers interviews athletic director Gene Smith during media day at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. on Dec. 30, 2018. [Adam Cairns/Dispatch]

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith will co-chair an NCAA working group that will study issues surrounding college athletes’ use of their name, image and likeness.

The NCAA announced Tuesday that it had formed the group.

Smith is co-chairman along with Big East commissioner Val Ackerman. The group includes 19 members, with 16 being university administrators or conference commissioners, as well as three unnamed college athletes.

Smith is the lone representative from the Big Ten.

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In a statement, Ackerman said the group “will examine the NCAA’s position on name, image and likeness benefits and potentially propose rule modifications tethered to education.”

The NCAA has long prohibited athletes from profiting off their name, image and likeness, though the rules have come under increased scrutiny from reform advocates.

Amid those concerns, the NCAA in 2015 approved rules for schools to cover athletes' cost of attendance, providing them with additional benefits beyond the cost of their scholarship, which primarily included tuition and room and board.

The recently formed working group will not "consider any concepts that could be construed as payment for participation in college sports," according to its news release and echoed by Smith in a statement.

“While the formation of this group is an important step to confirming what we believe as an association, the group’s work will not result in paying students as employees,” Smith said. “That structure is contrary to the NCAA’s educational mission and will not be a part of this discussion.”

The working group is scheduled to provide an update in August, followed by a report issued to the NCAA’s board of governors in October.



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