Former KU greats react to NCAA’s ruling on athletes profiting from name, likeness use

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- On Tuesday, the NCAA Board of Governors voted to allow student athletes to profit from their names, images and likenesses "in a manner consistent with the collegiate model."

But a lot of work still needs to be done to determine how that will work within NCAA rules.

In a news release, board chair Michael V. Drake said the board realized that it “must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes.”

Brandon McAnderson loved playing the football video game NCAA 08 when he was a 1,000-yard rusher on the Kansas Jayhawks Orange Bowl team.

"I liked the access to the programs. I liked being able to use the fight songs and play with the Jayhawks," McAnderson said.

He never thought much about how the company that produced the game was making money off his likeness at the time. He thought he'd make his money in the NFL.

"I signed with the St. Louis Rams out of college, signed a contract for $300,000," McAnderson said. "And then two months later, I was a paraprofessional making $10 an hour, so it doesn't always work out."

The question remains how much college athletes will profit from their play, not only in video games, but in possible lucrative endorsement deals.

Professor Max Utsler taught a Sports Media and Society class at KU for years, studying the big business of college sports and what was often a dark underbelly. He'd be happy to see payments out in the open.

"If you are a car dealer in Columbia, Missouri, who do you think you`d like to have be your spokesperson: the Chancellor of the university or the star quarterback?" Utsler said.

Although football and basketball will get most of the attention, especially in how the NCAA formulates rules for separating endorsements and recruiting, McAnderson said other college athletes will profit. Likely even more than the $4,000 he eventually got in a settlement for his likeness being in video games.

He points to the UCLA gymnast, Katelyn Ohashi, whose viral video would have likely landed her a commercial.

"There are opportunities for everyone. They may vary in size, but I think you'll have people who will have the opportunity and there will still be bright shining stars and that doesn't change. I think within the athletic structure you find a lot of good people who you want to represent you," said McAnderson, who now works as a broadcaster for high school and college athletics.

Utsler just hopes the new rules don't include caps on student athlete earning, which he believes would just mean more athletes, universities and companies trying to find ways around them.

"They've got a long way to go to get things straightened out I'm hopeful they'll figure it out but I'm not terribly optimistic," Utsler said.

Former KU basketball player Scot Pollard also weighed in on the decision in a series of tweets.

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