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What should companies know before working with student-athletes?

On Behalf of | Jan 31, 2022 | Entertainment Law |

USC’s men’s basketball team is off to another dynamic start, causing many of the team’s players to become overnight celebrities. If there is a forward or guard on the team who represents its ideals, a company may want to associate the student’s athletic prowess with its product or service.

In the past, most college athletes could not capitalize on their names, images or likenesses without violating a variety of rules. That changed recently when California’s governor signed the Fair Pay to Play Act. According to the National Conference on State Legislatures, as of October 2021, the governors of 28 other states have followed suit.

The rules are not exactly clear or consistent

If a company wants to pay to use an athlete’s name, image or likeness, its leaders may be working with rules that are not exactly clear. While the NCAA has issued interim rules, the comparative newness of the policy naturally leaves some areas of confusion. Likewise, laws about compensating college athletes are likely to vary somewhat from state to state.

Many types of agreements are possible

Just as in many other states, California’s scheme allows for many types of agreements between business owners and college athletes. While it is possible to work with an athlete who has national name recognition, business owners may also negotiate more affordable contracts with athletes who have regional or niche acclaim.

As time goes on, companies are likely to develop greater confidence in collaborating with college athletes. Ultimately, though, business leaders who want to capitalize on the name, image or likeness of a student now have a legal framework for doing so.



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