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Missouri to allow student-athletes to profit off of likeness

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — In a win for student-athletes and coaches who advocated for reform, Gov. Mike Parson signed legislation Tuesday to allow players to profit off the use of their likeness. 

A bipartisan effort, HB 297 from Rep. Wayne Wallingford comes on the heels of the NCAA adopting an interim name, image, likeness (NIL) policy. It allows athletes to garner compensation for the issue of their name, image, and likeness rights as well as athletic reputation without hindering their ability to fully participate in athletics or receive grants and stipends. Additionally, it allows college athletes to obtain professional representation from agents or attorneys. 

“Current and future Missouri college athletes deserve these rights and freedoms,” Ramogi Huma, executive director of the National College Players Association (NCPA), said. “The NCPA is proud to have worked with Missouri lawmakers in standing up against unjust NCAA rules and bringing forth one of the best NIL laws in the country.” 

The bill prevents student-athletes from entering into NIL contracts that require the athlete to display the sponsor’s logo or advertisement during team activities if it conflicts with the school’s standing contracts and licenses. Athletes must also disclose the agreement to the school before any contract or compensation can occur. 

Colleges that engage in commercial agreements utilizing a student-athlete’s name, image, likeness, or reputation must create a financial development program for the student once per year. 

Sen. Greg Razer, who worked on the issue during the legislative session, compared the legislation to the Olympic model, allowing student-athletes to earn money from the use of their name, image, and likeness through endorsements. 

“This is long overdue, and I’m pleased Missouri is moving forward on this issue,” Razer said. 

“After the NIL legislation becomes law, student-athletes in Missouri will have the same opportunities that every other student has in earning income off their hard work,” Rep. Nick Schroer said. “This legislation paves the way for every student to achieve the American dream by overstepping an archaic NCAA rule that did not embrace free-market capitalism. In its purest form, the Missouri NIL law embraces the concepts of liberty and freedom which have made this nation the shining city on the hill.” 

The NCAA last month adopted an interim policy to allow student-athletes to profit off of their name, image, and likeness (NIL) in line with state law where the school is located. If no such law exists, college athletes are still allowed to engage in NIL activities, the NCAA said. 

The policy is to remain in place until the NCAA adopts new rules or federal legislation is enacted. 

“With the variety of state laws adopted across the country, we will continue to work with Congress to develop a solution that will provide clarity on a national level,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement. “The current environment — both legal and legislative — prevents us from providing a more permanent solution and the level of detail student-athletes deserve.”

Catalyst worked on this issue.

‘Students’ Right to Know Act’ 

Rep. Wayne Wallingford’s bill included the “Students’ Right to Know Act” requiring the Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development to compile information regarding student loans, salaries, and more related to the state’s colleges and universities.

Wallingford’s bill also establishes the “Students’ Right to Know Act’ requiring the Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development to compile an annual list of: 

  • The most in-demand jobs in Missouri along with starting salaries and education requirements
  • The average cost of every vocational school and public college or university
  • The average monthly student loan payment for students at each school
  • The average three-year student loan defeat rate for every school 
  • The average graduation rate for each school 
  • The completion rates for Missouri’s apprenticeship, high school credential, and career and technical education programs as well as military first-term enlistments 
  • The average starting salary for those who have graduated from each school. 

The bill also designated Southeast Missouri State University as an institution with a statewide mission in visual and performing arts, computer science, and cybersecurity; Northwest Missouri State with a statewide mission in educator preparation, emergency and disaster management, and profession-based learning; and Harris-Stowe State University with a statewide mission in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) for underrepresented or underresourced students. 

Additionally, Wallingford’s bill changes the process through which community colleges can be annexed with school districts. It also removes the tuition cap restrictions fro public universities and community colleges beginning July 2022.