LSU athletes are a step closer to earning money from endorsements

LSU board approved name, image, likeness bill Friday

By: - June 21, 2021 6:30 am
Tiger Stadium

LSU’s Tiger Stadium (Photo by Julie O’Donoghue / Louisiana Illuminator)

The LSU Board of Supervisors Friday established rules governing student athletes seeking to take advantage of new legislation that, if it becomes law, allows them to profit from their name, image and likeness. Stephanie Rempe, LSU’s executive deputy director of athletics and the department’s chief operating officer, told the board at a meeting at the university’s Alexandria campus that the bill that would allow student athletes to make money is “the most transformative piece of any change in athletics in the history of college athletics — or at least since Title IX.”

Friday’s adoption of rules by the LSU board means if Gov. John Bel Edwards signs the legislation, the rules will immediately go into effect.

The rules established by the board will prohibit student athletes from using the university’s trademarks, logos, uniforms or colors without express written permission from the university. Student athletes will also be prohibited from endorsing tobacco, alcohol, illegal substances, illegal acts, banned athletic substances or any form of sports betting.

According to the board’s “Policy on Student-Athlete Name, Image and Likeness” the school’s athletes cannot be paid directly for their athletic performance or in exchange for agreeing to attend the university.

The policy adopted by the board also requires LSU to provide “life skills” educational workshops to teach student athletes how to manage their money.

Though obtaining an agent typically means a student athlete is forfeiting his or her amateur status, the board’s new policy will allow to hire agents “for the sole purpose of representing the intercollegiate athlete in matters pertaining to the use of the intercollegiate athlete’s (name, image and likeness).”

During the legislative session that ended June 10, the Louisiana Legislature overwhelmingly approved a bill from Sen. Patrick Connick that allows the state’s college athletes to receive “compensation for the use of the athlete’s name, image, or likeness” without putting at risk their amateur status. The  NCAA prohibits student athletes from such arrangements, but Louisiana joins at least 11 other states that have such laws that are about to go into effect this summer. 

The NCAA has said it is “committed to modernizing” its name, image and likeness rules. But the sports governing body has held off any official changes largely because the U.S. Supreme Court was preparing to rule in a separate but related case involving the NCAA’s limits on eligibility and compensation. The court ruled against the NCAA Monday.

Louisiana Rep. John Stefanski (R-Crowley), who brought the state’s name, image, likeness bill to the floor of the Louisiana House on Connick’s behalf, said then that “it’s important we treat all people similarly situated the same” and that the bill is important “from a competition standpoint” for Louisiana.

Referring to the states that have passed or are discussing passing name, image and likeness bills, Stefanski said, “Multiple other states are moving to this, and if Louisiana is left behind, we will be at a competitive disadvantage.”

Connick’s bill put the boards of the state’s university systems in charge of establishing rules related to students making money from the use of their name, image or likeness.  

Senate Bill 60 prohibits student athletes from receiving sponsorships that conflict with “institutional values” or ““existing institutional sponsorship agreements or contracts” of a college or university. Rempe said the athletics department is still in the process of determining “what our recommendations are for that.”

With the above listed exceptions, LSU athletes will be allowed to promote products  for money with any business or corporation, given that they are paid at fair market value and that they keep the  university informed of those business relationships. Contracts can’t  extend beyond their time as LSU athletes  nor can they interfere with the student athlete’s grants or scholarships.

 

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JC Canicosa
JC Canicosa

JC Canicosa is an award-winning journalist at The Louisiana Illuminator. Canicosa has previous experience at Investigate-TV and The Loyola Maroon and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Loyola University New Orleans. At Loyola, he was the senior staff writer at The Maroon and the president of the school's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Off the clock, Canicosa enjoys playing basketball, watching movies and dabbling in comedy writing.

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