By Alexandria Hoff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The NCAA is opening the door for college athletes to cash in on their name, image and likeness. The announcement could be a game-changer for student-athletes.

The NCAA was under plenty of pressure from states that had already or were seeking to enable college athletes to profit off of their own names.

Earlier this month, state senators from Allegheny County said they intend to push a bill that mirrored what was passed in California, allowing college athletes to capitalize on their name and likeness.

The NCAA initially pushed back, but now changes are on the way.

The NCAA has voted unanimously to allow student-athletes to be paid for their name, image and likeness.

In a statement, the NCAA Board of Governors wrote, “We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes.”

“A chance to do the kinds of activities that the rest of student bodies are engaged in right now — starting their own businesses or becoming a Twitter sensation,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said.

The NCAA was under pressure to act after California became the first state to pass a law allowing college athletes to sign endorsement deals beginning in 2023. Legislators in several other states, including Pennsylvania, have sought similar moves.

Last year, college sports programs in the U.S. reported $14 billion in revenue, while college athletes average about $18,000 in annual scholarship money.

“I worked at the farm on the University of Maryland, woke up at 5:30 a.m., made $8.50 an hour, went to practice at 9 a.m.,” Moorestown native Phil Costa said.

For some player perspective, we sat down Costa, a former football player at Maryland.

“Right now, they are being forced into this position by the states,” Costa said of the NCAA.

Costa most recently co-authored “The Transition Playbook for Athletes.” He retired from the NFL in 2014, and prior to that, he played football for the University of Maryland.

“People ask, should NCAA athletes get paid? Yes, I believe they should,” Costa said. “It should be set up in a certain way where they are able to access it five years after. It should be in a 401K for when they’re older or something in that format because, to be honest with you, I don’t think an 18- to 19-year-old making 10 hundreds of thousands of dollars is able to manage that.”

Costa says he thinks the real challenge for the NCAA will be creating guidelines that will be fair to all student-athletes. The NCAA is working on determining the new rules and they will be in play no later than 2021.

Alexandria Hoff