Parson signs new Missouri NIL law for student athletes | Politics

JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Mike Parson signed legislation Thursday giving college coaches and university employees in Missouri a more active role in the endorsement opportunities their athletes now have in the name, image and likeness movement.

The new law, which goes into effect Aug. 28, was added to a bill moving through the Legislature late in the spring session by Rep. Kurtis Gregory, R-Marshall, who is a former Mizzou football offensive lineman and team captain.

“I just wanted to make sure Missouri universities and colleges would be at the forefront of being able to compete in this arena,” Gregory said Thursday.

Lobbyists representing interests from both Mizzou and St. Louis University pushed for Thursday’s amendment.

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Under the new law, university employees, including coaches and athletics department officials, “may identify or otherwise assist with opportunities for a student athlete to earn compensation from a third party for the use of the student athlete’s name, image, likeness rights, or athletic reputation.”

That’s a change from current state law, which prohibits school officials and coaches from interacting with NIL third-party entities or booster-led companies known commonly as NIL collectives.

Gregory said the change was needed in order to stay competitive with schools like the University of Alabama. The measure was modeled on changes put in place in Tennessee.

“We’re just trying to keep up with the Joneses,” Gregory said.

“I’m proud to carry legislation that will make NILs easier for our athletes,” said Sen. Barbara Washington, D-Kansas City, who sponsored the legislation.

Coaches and school officials would have some restrictions under the proposed amendment. Any university employee engaged in an athlete’s NIL business may not serve as the athlete’s agent or receive compensation from the athlete or third party company. The university employee also can’t attempt to influence the athlete’s choice of representation, attempt to reduce the athlete’s opportunities from competing third parties or be present at any meeting between the athlete and third party where the athlete’s NIL contract is negotiated or completed.

The law also requires that universities that enter into commercial agreements that directly or indirectly require the use of an athlete’s NIL shall conduct a financial development program once per year for their athletes.

That program shall not include any “marketing, advertising, referral or solicitation by providers of financial products or services.” The program should include information on financial aid, time management, debt management and a recommended budget for athletes based on the current year’s cost of attendance, the legislation notes.

“We are grateful to our state legislators for their continued support of our student-athletes,” University of Missouri Athletics Director Desireé Reed-Francois said in a statement. “As an institution, we will help our Tigers maximize NIL opportunities within the framework of the updated legislation and NCAA rules. We look forward to collaborating with our university partners and providing a new NIL-related educational curriculum which is unique to Mizzou.”

Mizzou Athletics plans to create an in-house team to oversee NIL activities. This effort will be spearheaded with the creation of a new position — Assistant Athletics Director for Name, Image and Likeness. In addition, the department will create NIL-specific roles in graphic design and creative video.

A new educational component — a three-day NIL experiential learning program for Tigers student-athletes — will consist of a partnership between Athletics, the Griggs Innovators Nexus, Missouri School of Journalism, School of Law and Trulaske College of Business.

The legislation is Senate Bill 718.Originally posted at 11:41 am Thursday, June 16.

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