One of the largest issues facing the NCAA is whether it should allow student-athletes to profit from use of their names, images and likenesses — and on Tuesday, the NCAA took a step toward addressing that issue.

The governing body said that it would establish a working group to “examine issues highlighted in recently proposed federal and state legislation related to student-athlete name, image and likeness.”

States legislatures around the country have proposed legislation that would circumvent the NCAA and allow student-athletes to benefit or be compensated for the use of their names, images or likenesses. Some of the proposed laws, such as Washington’s HB 1084, would essentially defang the NCAA’s enforcement mechanisms, preventing them from slapping student-athletes or schools with penalties for violations related to name/image/likeness use.

Related: Proposed Bill Would Let Student-Athletes Get Paid

The working group established by NCAA board of governors will comprise members of each of the three NCAA divisions.

“The group will bring together diverse opinions from the membership — from presidents and commissioners to student-athletes — that will examine the NCAA’s position on name, image and likeness benefits and potentially propose rule modifications tethered to education,” Big East commissioner and working group co-chair Val Ackerman said. “We believe the time is right for these discussions and look forward to a thorough assessment of the many complexities involved in this area.

According to the NCAA release announcing the move, the working group “will not consider any concepts that could be construed as payment for participation in college sports.”

“While the formation of this group is an important step confirming what we believe as an association, the group’s work will not result in paying students as employees,” working group co-chair and Ohio State senior vice president and athletics director Gene Smith said. “That structure is contrary to the NCAA’s educational mission and will not be a part of this discussion.”

The NCAA Board of Governors Federal and State Legislation Working Group includes:

  • Val Ackerman, commissioner, Big East Conference, co-chair
  • Gene Smith, athletics director, The Ohio State University, co-chair
  • John J. DeGioia, president, Georgetown University and Board of Governors representative
  • Jill Bodensteiner, athletics director, Saint Joseph’s University
  • Bob Bowlsby, commissioner, Big 12 Conference  
  • Don Bruce, faculty athletics representative, University of Tennessee
  • Rita Cheng, president, Northern Arizona University
  • Mary Beth Cooper, president, Springfield College
  • Rick George, athletics director, University of Colorado
  • Carolayne Henry, senior associate commissioner for governance and legal affairs/senior woman administrator, Mountain West Conference
  • Glen Jones, president, Henderson State University
  • Scott Larson, deputy director of athletics/compliance, Lubbock Christian
  • Jacqie McWilliams, commissioner, Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association
  • Jere Morehead, president, University of Georgia
  • Daryl Sims, athletics director, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
  • Carla Williams, athletics director, University of Virginia
  • Division I male student-athlete
  • Division I female student-athlete
  • Division III student-athlete

Jason Scott is Online Managing Editor of Athletic Business.