Supporters of new compensation laws for student-athletes get wins in Michigan, Nebraska

January 22, 2021

Michigan and Nebraska are among the first states in the nation with laws that allow collegiate athletes to use their own names, images, likenesses and reputations for financial compensation.

Michigan’s HB 5217 and 5218 were signed in December and take effect in 2023. The bipartisan measures were sponsored by two former college athletes: Reps. Brandt Iden and Joe Tate. Iden notes that in his college days, he had opportunities to give tennis lessons to young players at recreational centers and camps, but was not allowed to advertise his status as a player on his Kalamazoo College team. Such a qualification, he says, would have presented additional value when offering his services.

In late 2019, the NCAA’s governing board voted to allow student-athletes to earn compensation from the use of their names, images and likenesses. However, Tate, who played football at Michigan State University, believes a codification of student-athletes’ rights in state law still is needed. Under HB 5217 and 5218, Michigan’s post-secondary institutions are barred from denying eligibility or scholarships based on an athlete pursuing certain financial opportunities. The bills also allow agents to enter into contracts with student-athletes.

Nebraska’s LB 962 was signed into law in July and becomes effective on July 1, 2023.