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Iowa Joins List of States Introducing NIL Bills

Brock Fritz

Iowa is the latest state to introduce legislation regarding the name, image and likeness of college athletes.

If passed, Sports Illustrated reported that the bipartisan bill introduced by state senators Wednesday would go into effect July 1, 2021. Like similar ones across the country, Iowa’s bill would allow NCAA athletes to profit from certain endorsement and commercial endeavors.

“Now that we’re seeing multiple states moving ahead, we want to make sure no Iowa athlete is left behind,” said senator Nate Boulton, the bill’s author. “The climate is becoming favorable to getting these passed in the states. Frankly, the NCAA’s failure to address this has forced states to step up.”

Florida’s NIL law is already scheduled to kick in July 1, while California, which started the movement, has NIL legislation taking effect in 2023. Colorado, Nebraska, New Jersey and Michigan have also passed legislation.

“There’s going to be a stampede of NIL laws in many of these state houses so they don’t get left behind,” National College Players Association executive director Ramogi Huma said, according to SI. “The states are already operating in a way to go against the NCAA.”

While states are forcing the issue, the NCAA has also been working on how to govern athletes’ name, image and likeness.

On Monday, NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy released a statement saying the association filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court “to reaffirm that the NCAA has ample latitude to govern college sports. As outlined in our brief, the lower court ruling distorts federal antitrust law and, in the process, wrongly redefines amateurism and undermines the NCAA's supervision of college athletics. The ruling also encourages judicial micromanagement and invites never-ending litigation as the NCAA seeks to improve the college athletic experience. In short, the lower court ruling greatly blurs the line between college and professional sports.

“The NCAA and its member schools are committed to defending the rules that govern college sports — the same rules that create an environment where hundreds of thousands of student-athletes can receive the life-long benefits of a college education and compete at the highest levels of their sport. We look forward to continuing to make our case before the Court." 

Related content: NCAA Files SCOTUS Brief Related to NIL Ruling

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 Expected to Delay NIL Vote Amid D.C. Changeover

It's possible the issue is eventually settled at an even higher level. According to SI, “Congress is eyeing a federal solution for NIL but its attention is on more important topics, such as the economy and COVID-19 and there exists a deep divide on the issue.”

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