Ohio State Senator to Introduce NIL Bill for NCAA Athletes to Profit off Likeness

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 24, 2021

Sen. Niraj Antani, a suburban Dayton Republican, speaks about a bill that would allow athletes at Ohio colleges to earn compensation through endorsements and sponsorship deals based on their names, images and likenesses on Monday, May 24, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio. Looking on at right is Ohio State University Athletics Director Gene Smith.  (AP Photo/Andrew Welsh-Huggins)
AP Photo/Andrew Welsh-Huggins

Ohio state Senator Niraj Antani introduced legislation that would allow college athletes to be compensated for their name, image and likeness.

"These college students should be able to benefit from their own name, image and likeness," Antani said. "Most will not get endorsement deals from major shoe and apparel companies but rather from their hometown businesses, such as an auto dealer or bookstore. My bill legalizes this in a safe and reasonable manner."

The Athletic's Bill Landis wrote athletes in Ohio would have the opportunity to hire professional representation. While universities couldn't veto an endorsement deal, there would be some restrictions. Athletes couldn't partner with casinos or promote the sale or marijuana or alcohol.

Neither the NCAA nor the federal government has crafted uniform NLI regulations that apply to all college athletes. As a result, the situation is evolving on a state-by-state basis.

Landis referenced how there's now a perceived race for the top programs not to get left behind.

Sixteen states have already passed relevant legislation, with some of the laws going into effect as early as July 1.

"Surely the fact that states such as Alabama, Georgia and Florida — home to some of Ohio State football's chief recruiting rivals and an area of the country OSU recruits heavily — have NIL laws set to go into effect on July 1 created a sense of urgency," Landis wrote.

Coaches are always looking to get an edge when it comes to landing the top prep stars, and NIL legislation represents one possible advantage for the time being. In a clear piece of symbolism, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the state's new bill into law at the University of Georgia's football recruiting lounge.

Antani is aiming for the new measure to go into effect by the start of July, which doesn't leave Ohio legislators with much time to iron out the finer details.

According to The Athletic's Nicole Auerbach, the NCAA Council is expected to examine the landscape during its meeting in June, which could result in more uniform standards across the board.


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