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Student Athletes Can Now Sign Autographs Or Work As Influencers, And Get Paid To Do It

UT Longhorn fans celebrate after a victory over Texas Christian University in 2018.
Jimmy Maas / KUT
UT Longhorn fans celebrate after a victory over Texas Christian University in 2018.

From Texas Standard:

This month a Texas law went into effect that allows college athletes to be paid for the use of their name and likeness. Texas joins many other states who have passed similar laws. And now the NCAA has announced it will follow suit, reversing its own previous policy.

"So this is a seismic shift in the power dynamics of college athletics," says Daron Roberts, founding director of the Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation at the University of Texas at Austin. He says the NCAA's rule change was most likely made in response to these recent state laws.

"The history of the NCAA will lead anyone to understand that it is a reactionary body," Roberts said. "I'm sure that the governors of the board of the NCAA and including the commissioner would rather not have made this move, but it's time."

Student athletes, Roberts says, can now be paid to sign autographs, run an athletic camp in their name and promote products on social media as an influencer.

"It just opened up so many opportunities that up until this point have not been available to student athletes," he said.

"If you look at just [a] regular college student, none of these restrictions have ever been in place. I've had students in my courses who – they've raised funds for startups and they are getting paid from YouTube pages. And I think it's really past time for us to bring collegiate student athletes into this new era of economic liberation."

Kristen Cabrera is a graduate of the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine, where she saw snow for the first time and walked a mile through a blizzard. A native of the Rio Grande Valley, she graduated from the University of Texas-Pan American (now UTRGV) and is a former KUT News intern. She has been working as a freelance audio producer, writer and podcaster. Email her: