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NCAA considering loosening rules on student-athlete endorsement deals?

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The Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman is on record as saying the NCAA is considering changes to the rules governing athletes' use of their images and likenesses.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

From what we know about Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman, she's really adept at not stepping over the line and spewing opinions like some other league commissioners. Ackerman stays on message; and we bring this up because she's talking about players being able to sign endorsement deals in some fashion. From Sports Illustraed:

Under the current rules, student athletes may not be paid for the use of their image or likeness or they would forfeit their amateur status and their collegiate eligibility could be affected. When Gray asked Ackerman why students shouldn’t be able to capitalize on the value they bring to their university, Ackerman responded that the NCAA is considering changing that rule.

“That’s one that’s actually under consideration I believe by the NCAA,” Ackerman said. “It’s actually a time right now where student athlete interests are being closely examined. I don’t have an answer for you on that one today but I will say that and a number of other topics are under review, and I think rightly by the NCAA and it’s very possible that over the course of the next year or two as these these ideas work their way through the legislative system you could see changes.”

Well now.

What that means is vague; is she talking about being able to go to a mall and sign some autographs for cash (which would be something we hope only the best athletes would be interested in) or is she saying Marcus LoVett and Shamorie Ponds can endorse a car dealership for having the cars with the smoothest handles? Could players over 21 lend their name to a club opening? Is someone going to able to endorse Golden Krust beef patties or that Italian place that tastes just like home?

We kid, we kid, but at the heart of this is the good news that the NCAA is more and more interested in treating their "student athletes" differently, as befitting their star status.

That comes with thorny issues, managing the learning process of handling obligations and contracts, and estimating the true value of services/ people's time, but that's the meat of working life in the United States.

This is not some kind of done deal, and the NCAA's committees don't even have this under review. But the conversation is out there, floated like a trial balloon, and we will be keeping an eye on the expansion of student-athlete rights.

What are your thoughts on the matter of endorsements and student-athlete rights? (PLEASE BE CIVIL.)