Connecticut has become the latest state to pass legislation allowing college athletes to make a profit from their names, images and likenesses.
The language, which received final approval in the Senate late Tuesday, makes it possible for college players to be paid for endorsements, social media content, sponsorship deals and personal appearances.
It supersedes current NCAA rules prohibiting that type of compensation for athletes.
At least 18 other states have adopted the so-called NIL legislation, which comes as the NCAA considers adopting rules that would allow all Division I athletes to make money in this way.
The NCAA said last month that its Division I Council is expected to act on NIL-related legislative proposals during its June 22-23 meeting. There are plenty of pending proposals in Congress on the subject.
Connecticut State Sen. Derek Slap, a West Hartford Democrat who pushed the legislation, said because the General Assembly's session ends Wednesday, lawmakers could not wait for the NCAA or federal courts to act.
UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma had said that failing to pass the law could have led to recruits signing with schools in other states where they could monetize their participation.
“If the NCAA votes yes, then great, we’d have the same advantages as every other state,“ he said. ”But if the NCAA votes no, and we don’t have a law on the books, then we’re at a huge disadvantage for any of the athletes that go to UConn.”
Opponents of the legislation have argued that it will only help the more famous athletes, such as UConn women's Paige Bueckers, who could make hundreds of thousands of dollars through sponsored posts to her hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers.
But Slap said other athletes will benefit as well.
“The person on the UConn tennis team, for example, who might want to open up a summer tennis camp in her hometown, they can't do that right now,” he said.
Slap said the law will take effect in September, giving state schools time to adopt policies and protocols for allowing NIL.
Many schools across the nation have hired outside companies to create a branding partner for athletes.
Max Reiss, a spokesman for Gov. Ned Lamont, said the governor will take a close look at the bill before deciding whether to sign it into law.