OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma State Senate passed a measure Wednesday that would allow student athletes in Oklahoma colleges to profit from their name, image and likeness.
The measure was originally ruled a no-go by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Now, around the country, players are looking at advertisements and promotional deals with local businesses or restaurants and beyond. If it became law, this would also become true in Oklahoma. The state would join 15 others with similar legislation. The NCAA has made it clear they want the issue resolved, but they haven’t taken any action. Now, the state is.
“Student athletes should have the advantage, or the benefit of profiting from their use of name, image and likeness,” said the bill’s author, Sen. Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville.
If signed into law at some point, Oklahomans could see student athletes profiting from their name, image and likeness as early as this summer. Although right now, it’s still technically an NCAA rules violation.
“We are doubtful that the NCAA would take any legal action against a state that did this since the NCAA is well aware of the issue and wants it to be resolved,” Daniels said.
“Name, image and likeness is massive,” said Kelli Masters, a sports agent and attorney in Oklahoma.
The bill would allow student athletes to hire agents and attorneys like Masters without NCAA penalties. However, it comes with restrictions.
“A lot of it has to do with protecting sort of the license agreements the universities already have,” Masters said.
For instance, school logos or apparel can’t be used in the endorsements. A player can’t use any product that conflicts with a school’s policy or involves sports wagering or banned substances. Players also must notify their schools of any contracts they sign.
“There has to be transparency,” Masters said.
“As much as it protects the student athlete, these regulations want to protect the institution as well,” Daniels said.
The bill comes as a revision of existing law, which is the Uniform Athlete Agent Act. The bill’s author, Daniels, said time was running out for legislation like this, since other states were making their moves on the topic.
“We might have student athletes wisely, perhaps consider transferring to an institution where they could take advantage of these new rules,” Daniels said.
In an already cutthroat industry, Masters said it may get even tougher.
“It changes the dynamic of sports agent recruiting,” Masters said.
The NCAA halted name, image and likeness legislation federally in the past after the Department of Justice raised concerns. Masters said there is still a lot up in the air with this bill at home. NCAA legislation on the matter is expected to be in place by August with or without assistance from the federal government.