Georgia became the latest state to allow collegiate athletes to profit from use of their name, image or likeness when governor Brian Kemp signed House Bill 617 into law.
However, the new law differs from others in that it gives schools the option to require that up to 74.99 percent of athletes' earnings be pooled in an escrow account for redistribution among other athletes. Moreover, money could not be withdrawn from the account until a year after the athlete graduates or leaves school.
The law takes effect July 1.
“I believe it sets Georgia on the path to accomplish something that quite honestly should have been done a long time ago,” Kemp said during a bill-signing ceremony Thursday at the University of Georgia, as reported by Sports Illustrated.
“Thanks to [the bill], student athletes from across the country will have Georgia on their mind when they’re looking for a campus and a university that can give them a world-class education but also the chance to compete at the highest levels of college athletics.”
According to the Athens Banner-Herald, UGA president Jere Morehead and athletic director Josh Brooks were among some 50 in attendance for the bill-signing ceremony.
Alabama, Mississippi, New Mexico and Florida will also have their own NIL laws taking effect July 1. At least 12 states already have NIL laws signed by governors, the Banner-Herald reported.
According to the paper, state laws could be superseded by federal legislation that still could be passed before July. Or they could be challenged in court by the NCAA, which – absent a federal law – could approve a package of related rules changes similar to one that had been scheduled for a vote in January but was tabled.
In Georgia, UGA officials indicated that the university has no intention of utilizing their state's unique escrow option.
“We have no plans to provide for a pooling arrangement,” Georgia deputy athletic director Will Lawler said, as reported by the Banner-Herald. “We are continuing to work to understand the nuances of the pooling arrangement provision.”