Governor Whitmer signs bills allowing college athletes to receive compensation

Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation today that allow student athletes to use their own name, image, likeness and reputation for financial compensation.

This marks the first time in Michigan history that collegiate athletes will have the opportunity to financially benefit from college athletics.

“For years we have all enjoyed the incredible talent of young athletes across the state. This legislation will change the lives of young men and women for years to come,” said Governor Whitmer. “As only the second state in the nation to pass this historic legislation, I am proud to sign this bipartisan legislation today on behalf of our current and future student-athletes. I am hopeful that the NCAA will set a national standard so that all players across the country are afforded the same opportunities.  As always stay safe and go green!”

One thing the bills don’t allow, however, is students cannot enter into an apparel contract that conflicts with the apparel contracts of their school and must disclose contracts to their school prior to signing. The bills also do not establish the right for students to use trademarked names, symbols, intellectual property, and logos of schools, associations, or conferences. 

Here’s what the bill do allow:

Post-secondary educational institutions cannot enforce rules that prohibit student athletes from profiting from promotional deals. Students may earn compensation for their name, image, or likeness, and could not be prevented from playing intercollegiate sports or receiving scholarships because of doing so. 

A second bill repeals a section of the Penal Code that prohibits athletic agents from inducing students into contracts before their eligibility for college athletics expires. The bill also repeals a section of the Revised Judicature Act which creates civil liability for interfering with the “prospective advantage” given by an institution of higher education by virtue of its relationship with the student-athlete, by promising an improper gift or service to the athlete, if that gift results in injury to the school.

The Signing makes Michigan only the second state to pass and sign legislation surrounding the compensation of student-athletes. 

The new laws take effect on December 31, 2022.

Bill sponsors released the following statements in regards to the Governor signing them into law:

It’s high time that collegiate players are respected and compensated for the talents that they’ve spent their entire lives trying to perfect,” said Joique Bell, former running back with the Detroit Lions and Wayne State University. “I’ve always supported the efforts to protect the best interests of athletes, especially those with tremendous abilities who play at all levels of the NCAA. Working two jobs, going to school full time, playing football and raising my son is a lot for any person, especially financially. My story is just one of many for collegiate student-athletes. We need to continually find ways to help student-athletes get ahead and build their brands early, while also protecting the players and the integrity of the sport.” 

“At its core, this legislation is to ensure student-athletes in Michigan are treated fairly and they are able to have fulfilling college experience. I am proud of the opportunity to work on getting this legislation across the finish line,” said Representative Joe Tate. 

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