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New Bill Backs Name, Image And Likeness Compensation For Ohio College Athletes

Ohio State football helmet
Brynn Anderson
Ohio State football helmet

A new billwould allow athletes at Ohio’s colleges and universities to receive compensation from their name, image and likeness.

Standing alongside Ohio State University Athletic Director Gene Smith, Sen. Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) said it’s only fair that athletes at Ohio’s universities be able to receive compensation for use of their name, image and likeness. He says 16 states have such legislation, including Michigan.

“Michigan has name, image and likeness for their student athletes. I think the athletic director would agree for me that we cannot let Michigan win at anything," Antani said.

The bill says a student must inform their college or university 15 days before they enter a contract to receive compensation. Smith said that will give the college an opportunity to review it and educate the student about potential problems.

"It will take a lot, primarily for our first-year student athletes because they are drinking through a fire house. You know they are trying to figure out a whole new, world order. And the other piece - third party pressures that they may have," Smith said.

The bill allows students to contract with agents. But it doesn't allow athletes to use university's trademarks, logos, symbols and intellectual property. In addition, students would not be allowed to enter contracts with any company that promotes alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, adult entertainment or gambling.

The bill applies to athletes at the NCAA’s three divisions at Ohio’s public and private colleges. There is not a statewide body that would provide oversight of the contracts.

Antani said the legislation has widespread support and he hopes to have it in passed by July 1.

The idea of allowing players to get compensation for their names, images and likeness is not new. Former Ohio State linebacker Chris Spielman filed suit against his alma mater of the use of his name, image and likeness. That suit was settled for $140,000 in 2018.

Spielman said he would donate the money to charity. He said he didn't want to pursue the case, but that he wanted to stand up for players' rights.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.