Michigan Gov. Signs Legislation Allowing College Athletes to Profit off NIL

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 30, 2020

Michigan State and Michigan face off at the scrimmage line during the second half of an NCAA college football game in East Lansing, Mich., Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

College athletes in Michigan reportedly will be able to make money off their name, image and likeness (NIL) rights by 2023. 

According to Robbie Weinstein of 247Sports, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed bills on Wednesday legalizing the opportunity for college athletes to do so when the law goes into effect in 2023.

That means athletes at Michigan, Michigan State, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan could have endorsement opportunities in the coming years.

Michigan joins Florida, California and Colorado as states that passed NIL legislation, although there is a strong possibility there will be rules in place across the NCAA by 2023 when Michigan's latest bill is scheduled to go into effect.

Earlier this month, Dan Murphy of ESPN noted the NCAA's board of governors is expected to vote on an NIL proposal in mid-January. NCAA president Mark Emmert has advocated for a federal law to help the NCAA regulate endorsements so there are no state-by-state differences that could impact recruiting and other aspects of college sports.

Murphy also noted the U.S. Supreme Court could weigh in on the process since it agreed to hear the NCAA's appeal of a recent antitrust lawsuit decision. How it rules could either strengthen or limit how much power the NCAA has over regulating endorsement deals collegiate athletes take when laws do go into place.

A decision is expected in May or June.

Weinstein pointed out the NCAA announced "concepts" for NIL legislation in October that would have companies and third parties paying athletes in endorsement deals and not the actual schools.

Whitmer signing the bill in Michigan is just the latest development in what seems to be an inevitable conclusion of college athletes having the opportunity to sign endorsement deals.