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The Statehouse News Bureau provides educational, comprehensive coverage of legislation, elections, issues and other activities surrounding the Statehouse to Ohio's public radio and television stations.

Amid Statehouse Fray, DeWine Steps Up To Allow Ohio College Student-Athletes To Profit From Name, Image & Likeness

Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) signs the executive order Monday, allowing college athletes in Ohio to profit from their name, image or likeness  [Dan Konik / Statehouse News Bureau]
Gov. DeWine signs Name, Image & Likeness Executive Order

After a bipartisan bill that would allow Ohio’s college athletes to profit from their name, image or likeness became ensnared in Statehouse politics last week, Gov. Mike DeWine took matters into his own hands Monday, signing an executive order to do it.

The Ohio State University lobbied hard for the billthat would allow players to enter contracts for payments from businesses – something top players in some other states are allowed to do. While it was popular with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, even popular bills can have a hard time becoming law.

Last week, the Ohio House passed the measure, but not before majority Republicans there amended it to add another bill that would bans transgender kids from participating in women’s sports at Ohio high schools and colleges.

House Democrats were angered by the decision to link the two bills. Many in the Ohio Senate weren’t happy about it either, saying the transgender bill should be debated on its own merits.

The Senate passed its own name, image and likeness bill but, lawmakers there attached a sports gambling amendment, also formerly a stand-alone bill, which was unpopular in the House.

DeWine’s executive order basically mirrors the popular  college athlete compensation bill (Senate Bill 187), allowing student-athletes to hire agents so they can benefit from their collegiate fame. It also bars them from endorsement deals for alcohol, tobacco, adult entertainment or casinos. But unlike the legislation, the executive order takes effect immediately.

“Even if legislation is passed, it’s not going to take effect for 90 days, so it is important to do this now,” DeWine said at the signing.

This executive order means Ohio colleges can promise athletes they can make deals beginning with this school year and football season.

As for the bill itself, Sen. Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) said he plans to continue to push for its passage, since putting it into law would give the rules a permanence an executive order does not offer. The language also could be added to the yet-to-be approved state budget, which must be passed by Wednesday.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.