I warned everybody to watch for extraneous issues buried in the new budget bill pending at the special session which starts tomorrow. Who knew that regulating the potential income of student athletes was a vital COVID emergency issue that couldn’t wait for the regular General Assembly meetings in January?
What follows should have been a stand-alone bill, but that would have opened the door to plenty of other issues. Clearly this is a response to the recent court decisions opening this door, and the new NCAA rules on the subject.
Herewith the provision, as it appears in Governor Ralph Northam’s introduced bill:
18.a. That no institution or an agent thereof; athletic association; athletic conference; or other organization with authority over intercollegiate athletics shall:
1. Provide a prospective or current student-athlete with compensation for the use of his or her name, image, or likeness;
2. Prohibit or prevent a student-athlete from earning compensation for the use of his or her name, image, or likeness, except as set forth in this subsection;
3. Prohibit or prevent a student-athlete from obtaining professional representation by an athlete agent licensed pursuant to Chapter 5.2 (§ 54.1-526 et seq.) of Title 54.1 of the Code of Virginia, or legal representation by an attorney licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth, for issues related to name, image, or likeness;
4. Declare ineligible for competition or reduce, cancel or not renew an athletic scholarship because a student-athlete earns compensation for the use of his or her name, image, or likeness; or
5. Prevent an institution from participating in intercollegiate athletics because a student-athlete earns compensation for the use of his or her name, image or likeness, or obtains representation for related issues.
b. An institution may prohibit a student-athlete from earning compensation for the use of his or her name, image or likeness while the individual is engaged in academic, official team, or department activities, including competition, practice, travel, academic services, community service, and promotional activities.
c. An institution may prohibit a student-athlete from using his or her name, image or likeness to earn compensation if the proposed use conflicts with an existing agreement between the institution and a third party.
d. A student-athlete shall be prohibited from earning compensation for the use of his or her name, image or likeness in connection with any of the following:
1. Casinos or gambling, including sports betting;
2. Alcohol products;
3. Adult entertainment;
4. Cannabis, cannabinoids, cannabidiol, or other derivatives;
5. Dangerous or controlled substances;
6. Performance enhancing drugs or substances (e.g., steroids, human growth hormone);
7. Drug paraphernalia;
8. Tobacco and electronic smoking products and devices; and
9. Weapons, including firearms and ammunition.
e. Any agreement entered into by a student athlete that provides compensation for the use of a student-athlete’s name, image, or likeness shall be disclosed prior to execution of the agreement by such student-athlete in a manner designated by the institution the student-athlete is attending. If a student-athlete discloses a potential agreement that conflicts with an existing institutional agreement, the institution shall disclose the relevant terms of the conflicting agreement to the student-athlete.
f. A student-athlete shall not earn compensation for the use of his or her name, image, or likeness in exchange for attendance at an institution or pay-for- performance.
g. A student-athlete shall not use an institution’s facilities or uniforms, or the institution’s intellectual property, including logos, indicia, registered and unregistered trademarks, or products protected by copyright, unless otherwise permitted by the institution.
h. For the purposes of this subsection:
“Institution” means a private institution of higher education or baccalaureate public institution of higher education.
“Pay-for-performance” means payments and compensation provided to student-athletes that is contingent on the student athlete’s achieving certain performance goals or objectives.
“Student-athlete” means an individual enrolled at an institution who participates in intercollegiate athletics.
Legislating in the budget? We don’t do that in Virginia. Well, we didn’t used to. This issue is not, repeat not, properly before the money committees by themselves and burying it in the budget ties the hands of anybody inclined to fight it. No amendments, remember? Not cool.