COLUMBIA, Mo. – A bill allowing college athletes to be paid for their name, image, and likeness was officially sent to the governor’s desk Tuesday after the General Assembly passed the legislation earlier this month.
Student-athletes are one signature away from making a buck without risking their scholarships. More than half of the states with South Eastern Conference (SEC) schools have passed similar legislation. Mizzou Athletics said while they wait for the governor’s signature, they are preparing their athletes to become entrepreneurs.
“This would be opportunities for athletes to take their name, image and likeness and be able to secure partnerships with local or statewide,” Deputy Athletic Director for External Operations Ryan Alpert said. “It gives us an advantage to be able to utilize it in recruiting.”
The House and the Senate approved the legislation during session, adding it to a bill that removes the cap on tuition increases for universities and colleges in the state.
“It’s new for all of us and so being able to ensure [students] understand what the rules are, what can the institution do, what can we not do and then what do they have to do on their own,” Alpert said.
Minutes after the House truly agreed and finally passed House Bill 297 on the final day of the session, Mizzou football coach Eliah Drinkwitz tweeted, “Great job,” for lawmakers.
Alpert said 7 out of 11 states with SEC schools already allow college athletes to be paid.
“We’re on the leading edge of this, we’re doing this together and our student athletes have the opportunity to monetize their name, image and likeness and for them, it’s that opportunity to grow and we’re not going to know the long-term effects of it until we’re able to monitor it,” Alpert said.
Mizzou Athletics is offering a trademark program for athletes to understand the rules of the legislation.
“Which is an education tool for our athletes to begin to understand what it means to develop their brand, to give them educational opportunities for things they need to do in the marketplace to be marketable,” Alpert said. “I think we may be able to develop future entrepreneurs through this program.”
Under the bipartisan legislation, athletes are not allowed to sell materials with their name and school’s logo.
“If a student-athlete, individual or yourself was on camera with a Mizzou polo, that is certainly allowed and is approved, but right now if you’re putting a jersey with a player’s name, number, and last name on it, the current legislation does not provide the approval for that,” Alper said.
Some lawmakers that spoke against the idea on the House floor said it’s not fair for other students, but Alpert said they already have the advantage.
“Our current student body, whether you’re an artist or a musician, can take their name, image and likeness and go right now and profit,” Alpert said. “This gives our student athletes and students the same opportunity to be on the same platform and level.”
Alpert said the NCAA supports the legislation passed here in Missouri.
“There have been discussions and presentations of the NCAA working to come up with federal legislation or working to get federal legislation put into place,” Alpert said.
If Governor Mike Parson signs the legislation, it will go into effect on August 28. Mizzou Athletics said their student-athletes will be ready to market themselves the next day.