Missouri NIL Bill Signed: Collegiate Athletes to Profit off of Name, Image and Likeness
Whether student athletes should be permitted to earn money off of their name, image and likeness (NIL) has been hotly debated for years. This month, the NCAA decided it’s time and adopted a uniform interim policy suspending NIL rules for all incoming and current student athletes across all sports. In response to the NCAA’s policy shift, over half the states across the country have enacted corresponding legislation. On Tuesday, July 13, 2021, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed into law a bill which now allows college athletes to earn compensation from their name, image, likeness, or athletic reputation as a player. While this marks a big step for the world of intercollegiate athletics, the Missouri law, which takes effect Aug. 28, 2021, includes certain limits on the players’ conduct. For example, players are prohibited from entering into a contract that requires them to advertise for a sponsor during official team activities if such advertising conflicts with the player’s team contract.
To assist student players in this new landscape, the University of Missouri has finalized its TradeMark program. Created in partnership with NIL-focused platform Opendorse, the TradeMark program is designed to provide Mizzou athletes with the tools and resources to build, cultivate, promote and manage their personal brands. As a part of their participation in the TradeMark program, athletes must disclose to their universities the terms of any agreements into which they enter. Additionally, athletes are prohibited from using university-owned trademarks without obtaining express consent from the university.
The Missouri law permits athletes to hire a licensed attorney or agent to represent their interests while navigating their new NIL-related opportunities. Experienced counsel can help student athletes capitalize on their personal brand and provide guidance for managing their brand in a way that satisfies the new legal parameters. This development in the law surrounding intercollegiate athletics is an exciting and powerful one, but it also creates new considerations and obligations for the students, colleges and universities, and sponsors.
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