Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed a new bill into law early Tuesday afternoon that will have long-lasting effects on the collegiate sports landscape.
Senate Bill 5, better known as the NIL (Name, Image and Likeness) bill, gives student-athletes in Oregon the right to financially profit from their own name, image and likeness. Previously, student-athletes were barred from receiving any sort of compensation outside the NCAA’s narrow stipulations.
The bill is set to take effect in Oregon on Thursday, July 1, 2021 along with NIL laws in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas. Nebraska and Oklahoma already have NIL laws in effect and at least 10 more states (including California) will be joining the NIL party at later dates.
Schools themselves will not be paying players — rather, student-athletes may now receive payment from third-party institutions in exchange for using their names, images or likenesses. These are opportunities current non-athletic-scholarship students already have.
For many major sports like football, this will expand the set of tools coaches may use to recruit players.
The University of Oregon and its student-athletes will have plenty of opportunities to take advantage of this new law. From program donors to businesses near and far, the extent of possibilities for NIL use is quite expansive.
For example, the school’s long-standing relationship with apparel giant Nike has already paid massive dividends in recruiting and retaining players. UO built its football program into a national powerhouse behind enormous donations and marketing strength from Nike, which will likely be an important third-party entity players could use for monetary gain.
The NIL issue has been rising in the college athletics world since the discontinuation of Electronic Arts’ popular NCAA Football and NCAA Basketball video games –– where players were represented, but not compensated in any way. EA publicly stated they plan to bring NCAA Football back in coming years.
While individual states have been preparing their own NIL legislation bills over the past few years, there is still no federal NIL law to govern the entire collegiate athletics landscape. Thus, the NCAA drafted its own interim NIL policy last week, which is expected to be approved Wednesday, June 30.
This interim draft came in the wake of a unanimous Supreme Court ruling against the NCAA, in which restrictions for student-athlete education related expenses were shown to violate antitrust law.
In this ruling, the separation of collegiate sports’ amateur status and non-athletic benefit was an important domino in the player compensation process.
One player, University of Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz, has already created his own personal brand in anticipation of the upcoming NIL changes. Many more are likely to follow suit in the coming weeks and months.
This law allows players to monetize themselves through third-party opportunities. It is designed to prevent student-athletes from being unable to support themselves while in school, as very few collegiate athletes ever go pro.
With this bill, UO can double down on the efforts that turned the university into one of the nation’s most recognizable brands, while providing more explicit opportunities than ever to its student-athletes.