Scholl, Wojciechowski express support for allowing athletes to profit off name, image, likeness

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Scholl, Wojciechowski express support for allowing athletes to profit off name, image, likeness

Head coach Steve Wojciechowski talks to reporters at the team's media day.

Head coach Steve Wojciechowski talks to reporters at the team's media day.

Photo by Katerina Pourliakas

Head coach Steve Wojciechowski talks to reporters at the team's media day.

Photo by Katerina Pourliakas

Photo by Katerina Pourliakas

Head coach Steve Wojciechowski talks to reporters at the team's media day.

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In the wake of the NCAA’s move to allow athletes to profit off their own names, images and likenesses, Marquette athletic director Bill Scholl and head men’s basketball coach Steve Wojciechowski voiced their support for the decision.

The NCAA’s Board of Governors, its top governing body, voted unanimously to approve the measure.

However, it comes with some restrictions.

The fifth-year athletic director said the NCAA needs to have some “guardrails” to ensure it remains in control.

“There have to be some market-kind of analytics put into it,” Scholl said. “If a student-athlete begins to get paid simply for signing an autograph, and the values seem to be out of whack with the market, how do you manage that?”

He also said those “guardrails” include preventing student-athletes from entering contracts with companies who conflict with university sponsors.

The Oct. 28 vote included a required “distinction between collegiate and professional opportunities.” Scholl said he interpreted that as just another way to make clear the vote does not signify approval of universities directly paying athletes, known as pay for play.

Wojciechowski jokingly said the vote came “about 25 years too late.”

“Our sport — men’s basketball has been trending in that direction for a while,” Wojciechowski said. “It makes complete sense to me to come up with a way to handle it where players can be compensated for their name, image and likeness. That ship has sailed. It’s not coming back to port.”

He said it’s just a matter of figuring out how to implement it.

“The pathway to that is something we should put all our best minds together and figure out for the benefit of the student-athlete,” Wojciechowski said.

Scholl said the Oct. 28 announcement was an “interim step” in the process. BIG EAST commissioner Val Ackerman, the co-chair of the NCAA’s committee on the topic, has kept the athletic directors and presidents of member schools “very engaged,” Scholl said.

The change came following increasing pressure from state legislatures across the country. California passed a law Sept. 30 allowing athletes to profit off their names and likenesses starting in 2023, and other states are in the process of passing similar bills.

Changes could be immediate or as late as January 2021, per the Oct. 28 announcement.

Scholl expressed concern over what could happen if each state has different legislation on this issue.

“I just think that is an untenable situation if we’re trying to have a competitive and fairly-level playing field around the country,” Scholl said. “I don’t know how we could have one set of rules in Wisconsin, a different set of rules in Illinois and a different set of rules in Minnesota and so on.”

Moving forward, Scholl said he is open to future ideas on how to add more benefits for student-athletes but does not support any form of pay for play.

“I can’t tell you exactly where the line is … but I wouldn’t want to see it cross over into a pay for play situation,” Scholl said. “As new ideas come to the surface, we should constantly be evaluating new ideas and new ways to, the word I would use, is modernize. It’s certainly time for us to modernize some of this stuff.”

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