New Legislation Allows Alabama College Athletes to Get Paid for Name, Image, and Likeness

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This week, Republican Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed legislation that allows college athletes to get paid for their name, image, or likeness (NIL) by third parties.

Sponsored by Rep. Kyle South, the bill is intended to go into effect on July 1 but won’t apply until the NCAA makes official changes to its bylaws to allow players to receive payments.

The bill establishes an Alabama Collegiate Athletics Commission made up of the state’s highest elected officials who will be charged with monitoring compliance with the law and consulting with college athletics experts, reports.

The legislation is produced from a larger congressional bill introduced in February, titled  “The College Athlete Economic Freedom Act.” The bill enables college athletes to receive third-party compensation for their NIL with as few guardrails as possible. It also allows athletes the right to hire an attorney or agent and to organize through collective representation, such as a trade or nonprofit organization. 

Florida and California have also recently signed laws allowing college athletes to receive compensation.

Meanwhile, the NCAA is working with Congress to establish its own NIL policy and is in favor of national legislation rather than individual state laws on the matter. 

In an April survey by the Associated Press, 73 percent of Division I athletic directors (ADs) said allowing athletes to be paid sponsors for their NIL will decrease the number of eligible colleges and universities that compete in college sports.

The ADs also raised concerns about inequality for women’s college athletics, with 94 percent saying, “it would be somewhat or much more difficult to comply with Title IX gender equity rules if their school were to compensate athletes in the biggest money-making sports.”