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Ohio Bill Allows Athletes to Get Paid for Use of Their Names, Images or Likenesses

OSU Athletic Director Gene Smith
Dan Konik
Statehouse News Bureau
Ohio State University Athletic Director Gene Smith speaks at a press conference Monday about a bill that would make it legal for athletes at Ohio colleges and universities to accept compensation for the use of their names, images and likenesses.

A new bill would 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) says 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. 

Sen. Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg)
Dan Konik
Statehouse News Bureau
Sen. Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) says if Ohio passes the bill, it would be the 17th state to allow college athletes to earn money in this way.

The bill says students must inform their college or university 15 days before they enter a contract to receive compensation. Smith says 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 hose. 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 universities' 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 all Division l, ll and lll colleges, public and private. There is not a statewide body that would provide oversight of the contracts. Antani says 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 OSU 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 says he'll donate the money to charity. He said he didn't want to pursue the case, but he wanted to stand up for players' rights. 
Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles
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.