© 2021 WKSU
Public Radio News for Northeast Ohio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Government & Politics

Legislative Effort Failed, So DeWine Signs Executive Order Allowing College Athletes to Profit from Their Name, Image & Likeness

Gov. DeWine signs Name, Image & Likeness Executive Order
Dan Konik
Statehouse News Bureau
Gov. DeWine signs Name, Image & Likeness Executive Order

After a bill that would allow college athletes in Ohio to profit from their name, image or likeness became ensnared in Statehouse politics last week, Governor DeWine has taken the issue into his own hands by signing an executive order.

Ohio State University lobbied hard for the bill that would allow players to enter contracts for payments from  businesses – something top players in some other states are allowed to do. The legislation was actually popular with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. But even popular bills can have a hard time getting through the Ohio Legislature sometimes.

Last week, the Ohio House passed it but not before majority Republicans there attached a bill that bans transgender girls from participating in girls sports program in high schools and colleges. 

Stark County Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Paris Township) said there was a reason to link the bills. "The NIL (Name, Image & Likeness) bill will predominately benefit college males, and at the same time, we need to protect our young ladies. So, it fit together and that's why we amended Senate Bill 187, the NIL bill, with House Bill 61 because it was a great fit. We thought the governor would be doing cartwheels for it, but apparently I don't know the governor that well," Stoltzfus said. 

Democrats in the Ohio House were angered by the decision to link the two bills. Many in the Ohio Senate weren’t happy about it either, saying the transgender bill should be debated on its own merits. The Senate passed its own Name, Image & Likeness bill but lawmakers there attached a sports gambling amendment that was unpopular with the House. Meanwhile, Ohio State officials called on lawmakers to pass the bill without any attachments.

Former OSU quarterback Cardale Jones speaks on behalf of executive order
Dan Konik
Former OSU quarterback Cardale Jones speaks on behalf of executive order

DeWine signed an executive order that basically does what the legislation would do, if it were passed. And unlike legislation, the executive order takes effect now, before July 1st when similar legislation in at least seven other states takes effect.

“Even if legislation is passed, it’s not going to take effect for 90 days so it is important to do this now," DeWine said.

When asked about what it says about the state legislature that lawmakers couldn't pass this as a stand-alone bill on its own merits, DeWine said, "Budget negotiations are going on. I love the state legislature.""

This executive order means OSU can promise its athletes they will also be able to profit from their name, image or likeness beginning with this school year and football season. Athletes would not be allowed to enter contracts with businesses that sell alcohol or promote gambling.

As for the bill itself, Sen. Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) said he'll continue to push for its passage. But he might not have to. It has been added to the yet-to-be-approved two year state budget. Passing it either way would give it permanence that it won't have as an executive order.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.