Louisiana poised to join states allowing college athletes to profit off name, image

A seismic shift will rock college sports next month, when a handful of new state laws go into effect allowing student athletes to make money off their personal images. 

It’s been against the rules governing collegiate sports for student athletes to make a profit off their name or image—a practice that’s commonplace in professional sports.

But, according to Louisiana Illuminator, a flurry of states has forged ahead with laws granting college athletes the rights to their own “name, image and likeness,” arguing that it’s a matter of fairness for student athletes. Statutes in five states, including Georgia and Florida, will go into effect July 1.

Congress could step in, but lawmakers have been unable to come to agreement on a federal law that would resolve the coming patchwork of differing state laws. The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee is scheduled to grapple with the issue again during a hearing Wednesday morning.

The state laws regulating name, image and likeness rights are part of a national wave of legislation. A tally by ESPN shows at least 11 other states—including Tennessee, Montana, Colorado, Michigan, Maryland and Arizona—have statutes poised to go into effect in the coming months and years. 

Louisiana’s bill which would allow college athletes to make money on their name, image and likeness—SB60, introduced by Sen. Patrick Connick, R-Marrero—is scheduled for debate on the floor of the Louisiana House on Monday. It passed the Louisiana Senate 32-0.

That states’ policymaking sets up a chaotic legal playing field for the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which governs college sports and has long resisted efforts to pay student athletes, even as its revenues and those of university athletic departments have soared. 

The NCAA has said it is “committed to modernizing” its rules. But the sports governing body has held off any official changes because of yet one more complication—the U.S. Supreme Court is preparing to rule before the end of this month in a separate but related case involving the NCAA’s limits on eligibility and compensation. Read the full story from Louisiana Illuminator.