Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Signs Executive Order Allowing College Athletes To Profit From Name, Image, Likeness

By Colin Hass-Hill on June 28, 2021 at 10:50 am
Mike DeWine
Credit: The Ohio Channel

Finally, Ohio has an answer.

Governor Mike DeWine signed an executive order on Monday afternoon to allow Ohio's college athletes to make money from their name, image and likeness, his office said in the morning.

The order will go into effect on Thursday – July 1 – which is the date originally targeted when an NIL bill was introduced last month.

DeWine was joined by lieutenant governor Jon Husted, Ohio Department of Higher Education chancellor Randy Gardner, state senator Niraj Antani and former Buckeye quarterback Cardale Jones to make the announcement at the Ohio Statehouse. Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith and president Kristina Johnson were also both in attendance.

"I think it has support in the legislature," DeWine said. "Second, it's a matter of timing. Even if legislation is passed, it's not going to take effect for 90 days, so it's important to do this now. I thank Gene Smith. Everyone has really made a point that for Ohio to be competitive – coach (Ryan) Day did – we need to get this now. We need to let everybody know that Ohio's in the game, Ohio's going to stay in the game and we're moving forward and we want the best athletes to come here and play for Ohio teams."

Seven states – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas – already had NIL laws set to go into effect on Thursday. Kentucky, too, passed its via executive order. 

Ohio is the eighth state, joining several other states that feature football powerhouses.

"This is going to protect student-athletes," said Antani, who introduced the original legislation. "Every student-athlete in Ohio, every student-athlete that is being recruited across the nation to come to Ohio will know, here and henceforth, that their name, image and likeness rights are protected here in Ohio. I am still going to pursue legislation. We do need to make this a permanent law. I know the governor is for this. I know the lieutenant governor is for this. We want to make sure no governor down the line in 10, 20 years revokes this executive order, so I am going to pursue legislation to ensure that this is permanent law."

On Monday afternoon, as Antani said would happen, NIL language was added to House Bill 110 – the state budget – which will now go to through the House of Representatives and the Senate before, if passing, reaching DeWine's desk.

DeWine's decision to go forth with an executive order follows the chaos that unfolded in the Statehouse last week. Senate Bill 187, which was created to give college athletes the ability to profit from their NIL, passed the Senate unanimously. But representative Jena Powell decided to amend it by adding language requiring transgender girls to play boys sports. Thus, what was once a widely supported NIL bill with bipartisan support suddenly became something else entirely.

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