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Alabama the Latest State to Introduce Own NIL Bill

Brock Fritz Headshot

Name, image and likeness legislation continues to be introduced across the United States.

Alabama joined in recently, with state representative Kirk Hatcher announcing Monday that he has introduced a bill that would “allow student-athletes in Alabama to receive compensation for the use of their name, image and likeness while playing college sports and create a guaranteed college and university supported monetary fund awarded to student-athletes.”  

“After all, we know many student-athletes, frankly, help generate millions of dollars for athletic programs across the country. This legislation will ensure all student-athletes will get a financial reward for playing college sports,” said Hatcher in a statement, according to Yellowhammer News.

The five key elements listed in Hatcher’s bill are:

  1. 1. Prevent Alabama schools from limiting the compensation earned by student-athletes or revoking scholarships due to compensation received. Schools may not directly compensate student athletes, other than the living stipend and scholarships already allowed.
  2. 2. Prevent athletic associations from barring schools due to receipt of compensation by student-athletes.
  3. 3. Require schools to fund annuities for student-athletes who “opt out” of seeking compensation in the marketplace while playing college sports.
  4. 4. Require schools to conduct financial literacy and life skills workshops to prepare student-athletes for life after college athletics.
  5. 5. Require coordination between student-athletes and schools regarding contracts entered into by student-athletes.

“This bill is the first step to closing the gap. It may not solve every problem but it will shine a light on the clear need to support all student-athletes during their time in school,” Hatcher said. “After all, we know many student-athletes, frankly, help generate millions of dollars for athletic programs across the country.  This legislation will ensure all student-athletes will get a financial reward for playing college sports.”

Hatcher’s bill distinguishes itself from others of its kind by adding an annuity. According to Yellowhammer, “the current text of Hatcher’s bill would require every college, community college and university in the state to deposit money annually — up to $10,000 — into an annuity for each student-athlete that opts not to seek compensation for their NIL.” 

College athletes traditionally haven’t been eligible to compete after receiving monetary compensation. That’s been challenged as more and more entities are pushing to adopt new name, image and likeness legislation.

California started the movement of state’s introducing their own NIL bills. California’s law is scheduled to take effect in 2023, while Florida’s NIL law is scheduled to begin July 1, and Colorado, Nebraska, New Jersey and Michigan have also passed legislation.

A number of other states are in early stages of adopting their own legislation, while the NCAA and federal government have also looked into options.

Related content: Iowa Joins List of States Introducing NIL Bills

In the spring of 2019, the NCAA formed a working group to discuss whether student-athletes should be allowed to profit from use of their names, images and likenesses.

In April 2020, the NCAA announced that the Board of Governors supports rule changes that would allow student-athletes to “receive compensation for third-party endorsements both related to and separate from athletics. It also supports compensation for other student-athlete opportunities, such as social media, businesses they have started and personal appearances within the guiding principles originally outlined by the board in October.”

In early January 2021, the NCAA tabled a vote that would have updated rules that dictate how athletes are allowed to benefit from NIL. The Division I Council decided it needed more information before voting on the proposal.

Related content: NCAA Files SCOTUS Brief Related to NIL Ruling

Last Thursday, U.S. senator Chris Murphy introduced a bill, the College Athlete Economic Freedom Act, that would guarantee college athletes the right to make money from their name, image and likeness, while barring the NCAA from curtailing that right.

Related content: Senator Chris Murphy Introduces New NIL Bill

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