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For the first time in Michigan history, college athletes can financially benefit from the countless hours they put into their sports.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed bipartisan legislation on Wednesday that allows athletes to use their own name and image for financial compensation.
"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," Whitmer said in a statement. "As one of the first states 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!"
Joique Bell, a former running back with the Detroit Lions and Wayne State University, praised the legislation.
"It's high time that collegiate players are respected and compensated for the talents that they've spent their entire lives trying to perfect," Bell said. "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."
House Bill 5217 prohibits post-secondary educational institutions from enforcing 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.
House Bill 5218 repeals a section of the Penal Code which 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 bills allow players from any sport in all divisions to use agents to earn money from their own image, name, or likeness, but students cannot enter into an apparel contract that conflicts with the apparel contracts of their school, and must disclose contracts to their school before signing.
The bills do not establish the right for students to use trademarked names, symbols, intellectual property, and logos of schools, associations, or conferences.
Whitmer has called on the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to set a national standard so that all states can follow.
The legislation takes effect on Dec. 31, 2022, except for a reporting requirement in Section 9, which has been given immediate effect.
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