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Student athlete ‘name image likeness’ bill heads to governor’s desk

A bill giving college athletes the ability to profit from endorsements and autographs is heading to the governor’s desk where it’s likely to receive his signature.

The Kentucky House passed the student athlete compensation bill on an 89 to two vote on Monday after passing the Senate unanimously back in February. Republican Rep. Adam Bowling of Middlesboro said it protects athletes and universities. 

“Senate Bill 6 sets the proper framework and guardrails as we begin to navigate this name image and likeness world,” Bowling said Monday. 

The bill would allow student athletes to make endorsement deals and receive other forms of compensation, but it also prevents them from promoting things like sports betting, adult entertainment or controlled substances.

It empowers colleges and universities to establish their own policies and programs including reviewing potential contracts before they’re signed. The bill also requires the schools to provide financial literacy and life skills education to student athletes.

College athletics is a multi-billion-dollar industry, but it’s been slow to allow players to receive monetary compensation. Gov. Andy Beshear was the first governor in the U.S. to sign an executive order allowing athletes to make money off their names last year. 

This bill would enshrine that into law. At least 26 states have passed similar laws allowing students to receive compensation for their name, image and likeness, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures

Ryan Van Velzer is the Kentucky Public Radio Managing Editor. Email Ryan at rvanvelzer@lpm.org.

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