During a press conference at the Covelli Center on Monday afternoon, Ohio Sen. Niraj Antani of Miamisburg announced that he will introduce a bill that – if passed – will allow college athletes statewide to profit from their name, image and likeness effective July 1.
“As a student at The Ohio State University, I saw the hard word student-athletes put into their academics and their sport,” Antani said. “Not every student-athlete has a scholarship and even for those that do, it may only cover their cost of attendance, leaving little left over for living expenses. These college students should be able to benefit from their own name, image and likeness.
“Most will not get endorsement deals from major shoe and apparel companies, but rather from their hometown business, such as an auto dealer or bookstore. My bill legalizes this in a safe and reasonable manner.”
So far, 16 states have passed legislation regarding name, image and likeness, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Carolina and Tennessee. Six of those laws – Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and New Mexico – will go into effect in July, while the others will take effect within the next five years.
The NCAA Division I Council is also expected to vote on name, image and likeness legislation at its June 22-23 meeting in an effort to provide consistent opportunities for student-athletes across the country.
Antani was accompanied at the press conference by Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, who notably co-chaired an NCAA working group charged with developing rules on how schools could implement name, image and likeness.
"All of the bills are different," Smith said. "Every environment is going to be operating differently, so it's going to create some level of chaos. I'm still hopeful that the NCAA comes into play and that might mitigate it to some degree."
Ohio's bill notably prevents universities or intercollegiate athletic associations, such as the NCAA, from punishing student-athletes if they are compensated as a result of their name, image and likeness. Such compensation could involve anything from autograph signings to shooting a commercial with a local car dealership, though there are some exceptions.
"It does allow them to receive professional representation, and as one of the safeguards, we require them to inform their university 15 days prior to entering into any contract,” Antani said. “This bill does not require schools or universities to do anything to enable name, image or likeness beneficiary opportunities for students. In the bill, also we do restrict that no student-athlete may receive a name, image or likeness compensation from marijuana, alcohol, tobacco or casinos."
Antani added that he’s been working with Ohio State on the bill for about a year and a half but noted the coronavirus pandemic derailed his legislative agenda. Both sides are now happy to see it completed.
“We’ve been preparing for some form of legislation to be enacted,” Smith said. “I am happy that all student-athletes at Ohio universities and schools will have an opportunity to capitalize on their own name, image and likeness.
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