COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX) — College athletes in Ohio are one step closer to getting paid and Ohio State's athletic director is all in favor of it.
The Ohio Senate unanimously passed a bill Wednesday to allow college athletes to earn compensation from their name, image, and likeness (NIL).
The bill also prohibits any college, university, or intercollegiate athletic association from preventing a student from participating in athletics or otherwise punishing them as a result of earning this compensation.
Student-athletes would be able to get professional representation and enter contracts for endorsements, but they have to inform their college before signing.
“I believe it’s a benefit to our student-athletes. And I know everyone talks about the outstanding football, basketball player — and that’s true," Ohio State’s athletic director Gene Smith told WSYX. "But the reality is there are over 300 of our student-athletes who are on a partial scholarship. Many of them leave with debt in the area of 11,000 dollars a year.
The bill now moves on to the house.
Similar legislation has been signed into law in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. Bills in Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, and Missouri are awaiting the governor's signature. More than three dozen other states have drafted legislation on the issue.
The patchwork of laws is fueling concerns that schools in states with NIL rights will have a recruitment advantage. It's also creating confusion for students and their families as they make decisions about their education, athletics and building a personal brand.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agreed that Congress should take action immediately to establish clear national standards to apply to all college athletes but disagreed about the scope of the legislation.