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Lawmakers move to repeal state’s 2021 NIL law

By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The lawmaker who last year pushed a state law to allow college athletes to be compensated whenever their name, image or likeness is used in promotional material is now trying to undo it.

House Bill 76 was approved by the House State Government Committee without any debate on Wednesday.

“It’s just a straight repeal of what we did last year,” sponsor Rep. Kyle South, R-Fayette, told Alabama Daily News. “We were thinking that the NCAA last year was going to go in one direction and they ended up adopting basically a different rule that was kind of a blanket for everybody. 

“And it left us in a place where our state law was more restrictive than what the NCAA adopted,” South said.

So, states that adopted nothing, including Michigan and Texas, are now at a recruiting advantage for college athletes now because they’re working solely off the NCAA guidelines, South said. Twenty other states passed legislation related to student-athlete compensation in 2021, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

“That’s kind of the gist behind (the bill),” South said. “It may be the shortest-lived law on the books, passed one session and repealed the next.”

Previous NCAA rules said students could not be paid and the scholarship money a college can offer was capped at the cost of attending the school.

Inside Higher Education reported this month that the lack of clear-cut NCAA policies has created a host of confusion around many aspects of NIL, including whole-team deals.

Auburn and Alabama athletes last year began taking advantage of endorsement deals. For example, Crimson Tide receiver Trashon Holden signed a deal with YOKE Gaming and Tigers basketball guard Allen Flanigan signed a deal with Guthrie’s restaurants. The state’s most marketable college athlete might be Auburn gymnast Sunisa Lee, whose Olympic gold medal win propelled her to a stint on Dancing with the Stars and several social media sponsorships.

During the committee meeting, Rep. Barbara Boyd, D-Anniston, said the need to repeal the 2021 law should be a reminder to lawmakers to slow down with some of the legislation they push.

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