Ohio Senate Passes Bill Allowing College Athletes to Earn Income Through Name, Image and Likeness

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Senate unanimously passed a bill on Wednesday that would allow college athletes to earn money because of their name, image and likeness.

Senate Bill 187 passed the Senate less than a month after its introduction, which is quick for the Ohio legislature, where some bills take nearly two years to pass. The bill would go into effect July 1, but must first travel to Ohio House for review.

The NCAA does not currently allow students to profit financially from product recommendations, social media influence, private tuition, or autograph sessions, although it has considered authorizing such proposals in the past. The NCAA, which has tried to promote college sport as an amateur, has yet to act on the proposals.

However, momentum has grown to allow student-athletes to enter into such contracts, with 16 states having already passed similar legislation, some with top-notch football programs. On July 1, new laws come into effect in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and New Mexico. The NCAA has not sanctioned athletes in states where this is permitted.

The bill has the support of Ohio State University. OSU head football coach Ryan Day testified before a legislative committee on behalf of athletic director Gene Smith on Tuesday, saying that of the 36 fully-funded varsity sports with more than 1,000 student-athletes, approximately 70% benefit from some form of grant or aid. , but most of them benefit from a partial scholarship. And 30% of not receiving any help at all.

“The time devoted to their academics and their sport prevents them from having other employment,” said the sponsor of the bill, Senator Niraj Antani, a Republican from the Dayton area.

Not all students will become professional athletes, Antani said.

The bill is not just about the star college quarterback signing a deal with Nike, but also the college swimmer who would like to host a swim camp at his old high school or “the Cleveland State gymnast with aspirations.” Olympics who will be able to monetize their large social media followings, ”he said.

The bill authorizes schools, athletic conferences and the like to ban the use of the name, image and likeness of college athletes to promote gambling, alcohol, tobacco, vaping products, medical marijuana and other controlled substances. Athletes also cannot contract for “adult entertainment that is characterized by an emphasis on the display or demonstration of sexual activity”.

State Senator Matt Dolan, a Republican from Chagrin Falls whose family owns the Cleveland Indians, supported the bill, but said he hoped in the House that the bill would improve by because of an article that says student benefits are allowed as long as they don’t. t conflict with academic activity. For example, if a student was running a swim camp at his high school that was at the same time as a swim camp at a nearby college, Dolan said it had to be clear that the student’s swim camp could to be allowed. Antani argued that legislative lawyers said it was clear.

“We have to get it right,” Dolan said. “This is going to be a major change in varsity athletics. This is the right change. We need to recognize that these student athletes are helping our universities earn millions and millions of dollars and they should be part of that success. “

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