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New bill backs compensation for Ohio college athletes

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Posted at 7:04 PM, May 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-24 23:26:42-04

COLUMBUS — An Ohio lawmaker has introduced a bill that would give college athletes in the state the right to earn money through endorsements and sponsorship deals.

"From the student athlete’s perspective, many institutions have made lots and lots of money from college athletics," St. Edward High School football coach Tom Lombardo said. "The schools used their image and likeness and the player can't benefit from it, so from the player's perspective, you could see how that could be valuable. I can't imagine what Trevor Lawrence might have been able to obtain in endorsements in college."

Sen. Niraj Antani who proposed the bill is a Republican from suburban Dayton.

He announced the legislation Monday at Ohio State University, where Athletic Director Gene Smith threw his weight behind the concept.

However, Smith cited the need for federal oversight.

"We know that there's going to be unscrupulous characters who will cheat in this space, but you shouldn't deny the 98% because you know that," Smith said.

Several other states have introduced similar NIL bills, for "name, image and likeness."

Federal legislation is also pending.

The U.S. Supreme Court in March heard arguments brought by athletes who say the NCAA's current rules are unfair and violate federal antitrust law designed to promote competition.

Susan Dover has two sons who both compete at the collegiate level and she, too, believes student-athletes should be compensated financially.

"Earning a scholarship for college is one thing, but then being able to give back to kids that hold them in high regard and being compensated for that, I think it's a tremendous reward," Dover said. "It's doing all those extra camps and going above and beyond the practices with school or wherever they're participating. It's a lot of time, effort, and energy and it's kind of nonstop."