February 8, 2020

Name Image and Likeness

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On September 30, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law that would send ripples across college athletics, potentially changing university athletics, forever. The new law, which is set to take effect in California at the beginning of 2023, essentially will allow college athletes in California to profit off of the use of their name, image, and likeness (NIL). Opening up the "right of publicity" or "personality rights" would allow these athletes to be compensated off the field of play when their NIL is used.

Proponents have expressed the need for fairness for athletes as there are massive amounts of money in university athletics going to different organizations and schools, with student athletes not sharing in its rewards. Opponents, however, have argued that this law would negatively impact the amateurism of college sports, and that these same student athletes benefit from tuition and other forms of support during their athletic careers on campus. The NCAA originally pushed hard against such changes, but announced in October that they would open up the exploration of making changes over the coming year.

The State of California making this first move started a domino effect with other states following suit. As of yesterday, at least 16 other states are considering similar measures, with Florida already prepared to move forward with changes beginning in July this year. The NCAA met with Washington lawmakers in December, and the White House is considering whether or not the federal government should get involved.

Without consistency of rules on a national level, athletes at schools of certain states may gain an advantage over others at schools in states without, or with lower impact laws. Needless to say, this is a major issue that will have to be addressed sooner than later. The NCAA is moving forward with discussions, including with student athletes from the national Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

This will be a very interesting topic to follow as many parties are involved, from the NCAA, universities and their athletes, to state and federal governments. Over the coming year, university athletics has the potential to undergo massive changes, and we can only wonder the impact to come.

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