The NCAA took a huge step this week, recognizing that if universities are making millions of dollars off of their athletes, then perhaps the players themselves — who are doing all the work — should be able to collect a share of the riches.

The NCAA Board of Governors voted unanimously to allow college athletes to “benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness.” The vote did not describe specific benefits, but presumably it includes being paid if a university makes money from things like football jerseys or posters of athletes.

More to the point, if a star player wants to start an online, money-making, sports-related enterprise, he should be able to do it within reasonable limitations. Other college students have done this for generations.

Good for the NCAA for recognizing the need to change its ways. It may have been prompted by states such as California, which is making it illegal to prevent college athletes from making money on endorsements and other activities. But this will treat athletes more fairly.

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