COLUMBUS, Ohio — With name, image and likeness (NIL) laws set to go into effect in multiple states later this week, Ohio has now followed suit.
On Monday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed an executive order that allows college athletes to profit off of their NIL in a move that will have a dramatic impact on the landscape of college sports.
"We want everyone to know that Ohio is in the game," said DeWine. "Ohio is going to stay in the game."
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DeWine's executive order comes one week after attempts to pass such legislation in Ohio's Congress fell apart in high profile fashion.
As a NIL bill introduced by State Senator Niraj Antani (R-6) that was also backed by Ohio State University leaders appeared set to pass with bipartisan support, Ohio Rep. Jena Powel (R-Arcanum) added language that would ban transgender girls from participating in girls and women's sports. The amendment resulted in the bill losing the support of Democratic legislators, which was necessary in order for it to go into effect as soon as July 1.
With Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas having already passed NIL legislation that will go into effect on July 1, schools such as Ohio State could have found themselves at a competitive disadvantage should the Buckeye State have failed to pass such a law by Thursday.
Joining DeWine at his ceremony to sign the executive order were Antani, Lt. Gov Jon Husted, Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor Randy Gardner and former Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones, while Ohio State President Dr. Kristina Johnson, Cleveland State University President Harlan Sands, Ohio State athletics director Gene Smith and Schottenstein Real Estate Group President Brian Schottenstein attended in non-speaking roles.
"We see this as an opportunity for us to be on a level playing field," said Scott Garrett, Director of Athletics at Cleveland State University. "The good news is that this still keeps amateurism restrictions in place, and so this is not pay for play. It's not an institution setting up these arrangements or endorsements or paying these student athletes directly," he said.
Student athletes will be able to get an agent, or professional representation, and enter into contracts with companies for endorsements. However, some industries, like gambling and alcohol, will be off limits.
The order is welcome news for Tim Potter and his family from Mentor, with four current and former college athletes, including son, Noah, a defensive end at Ohio State University. Potter said the NCAA rules were so restrictive -- his children weren't even allowed to hold youth sport camps back home.
"I think we first need to be thankful for what our kids have been given," Potter said. "From a fairness standpoint, a laborer is worth his hire. These kids are putting in the work, and they really are good at their craft," he said.
Jones, the former Ohio State quarterback and standout at Glenville High School in Cleveland, said, "I'm just excited for the future of student athletes. They finally have the opportunity to take advantage of their name, image, and likeness, and the brand they've created on and off the field."