The Big Ten Conference issued the following statement about the NCAA announcement on opportunities for students who participate in intercollegiate athletics to benefit from their name, image and likeness:
The Big Ten Conference recognizes the NCAA Board of Governors and the NCAA Federal and State Legislative Working Group for their hard work in developing recommendations to the NCAA membership for consideration in developing new rules relating to opportunities for students who participate in intercollegiate athletics to benefit from their name, image and likeness in a manner that is consistent with the collegiate model and legal precedent.
The Big Ten Conference and its member institutions will review and discuss these recommendations over the next several months as we work together to determine what new rules should be proposed for approval. We believe that education is the foundation of the collegiate model, that it is our first priority and that it must continue to be so if the model is to be sustainable on our campuses. We believe that our students who participate in intercollegiate athletics are students, not employees. We also believe that our students who participate in intercollegiate athletics are not professional athletes, that they are not paid to play their sports and that any payment for name, image or likeness cannot be used as a substitute for compensation related to athletic performance or participation. We also believe that whatever rules are adopted in this area, in order to allow for a national system of recruiting, competition and fair play, must apply nationally. Our collegiate model cannot be sustained if the rules are applied on a state-by-state basis.
The Big Ten Conference thanks Michael Drake, president of The Ohio State University and chair of the NCAA Board of Governors, and Gene Smith, Director of Athletics at The Ohio State University and co-chair of the Working Group, for their leadership on this issue and looks forward to working with others to create a national framework that is consistent with the principles unanimously approved by the NCAA Board of Governors.