Listen

Ohio Bill Allows Athletes To Get Pay For Use Of Their Names, Images Or Likeness

May 24, 2021

Republican State Senator Niraj Antani speaks as OSU Athletic Director Gene Smith looks on
Credit Ohio Public Radio

A new bill would allow athletes at Ohio’s colleges and universities to receive compensation from their name, image and likeness. Ohio Public Radio's Jo Ingles reports.

Standing alongside Ohio State University Athletic Director Gene Smith, Senator Niraj Antani 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 says. 

The bill says a student 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 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 says. 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 all D-1, D-2 and D-3 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 1st.  

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. Speilman says he'll donate the money to charity. He said he didn't want to pursue the case, but that he wanted to stand up ffor players' rights.