Thanks to a recent NCAA interim policy change and a new law, student-athletes in Mississippi can now be paid for use of their name, image, and likeness (NIL). This opens up new opportunities for students involved in collegiate sports to earn money.
What does the law say?
On April 16, 2021, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves signed a bill allowing student-athletes the long-awaited privilege of being compensated for their name, image, and likeness (“NIL”). This bill became effective on July 1, 2021. This legislation possessed similar provisions to the other 7 states which had NIL laws take effect on July 1, 2021, some of which include:
- Contracts cannot conflict with the educational institutions’ contracts or policies.
- Student-athletes are allowed, but not required, to obtain legal representation to negotiate on their behalf, but the attorney must be licensed by the State of Mississippi.
- Student-athletes are prohibited from participating in certain industries such as: alcohol, drug, adult entertainment, gambling, or others inconsistent with institutional values.
Although similar to other states in many facets, Mississippi’s NIL laws include some provisions unique to the state, including:
- Student-athletes exercising their NIL rights will not make them employees or independent contractors of their educational institution.
- Universities may impose reasonable limitations on the dates and times a student-athlete may participate in any endorsement activities.
- Universities have the sole discretion of controlling their student-athletes’ wearables and school marks during a sponsored event.
- Student-athletes may not enter into a contract for their NIL that uses any registered or licensed marks of the university unless they have received written permission prior to doing so. If permission is granted, the university may be compensated for the use in a manner consistent with market rates.
- All NIL transactions must be commensurate with the market value and are required to be disclosed to the institution within 3 days of the agreement or 3 calendar days before the next scheduled competition that the student-athlete is participating in, whichever occurs first.
- Prospective student-athletes are expressly prohibited from participating in NIL deals prior to enrollment at an educational institution.
What has happened so far?
At midnight, as the date turned to July 1, 2021, Antwan Owen’s, a Jackson State football player, became one of the first student-athletes to sign an endorsement deal. His agreement is with 3 Kings Grooming, a black-owned hair product business. The company struck similar deals with four other players at the university. The deal was facilitated by ICON Source, a digital marketplace that connects athletes with brands.
Throughout the state, businesses of all sizes are seeking athletes to endorse their company. Parker-McGill Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Starkville was one of the first local business offering Mississippi State players the opportunity to make money through endorsements. The dealerships general manager says the plan is to select a handful of student-athletes across different sports and begin their relationship with a social media campaign. The hope is that they can partner with athletes who are not on scholarship, but now have this opportunity to earn extra money.
For these student-athletes, the possibilities are truly endless as to how they can now earn money off of their own NIL. Business of all sizes are looking to partner with athletes across the state. On July 1, 2021, Mississippi took a big leap forward in the ongoing battle of student-athletes being fairly compensated for the revenue they produce for the NCAA. This legislation will ensure that student-athletes will be compensated for their NIL, while providing and maintaining structure and guidelines for these student-athletes throughout the process. If you need assistance developing an appropriate policy to comply with the state law or you are an athlete, school, or business looking for guidance on complying with NCAA rules and state law, contact our attorneys.
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