Name, Image and Likness (NIL) has made a sudden and impactful appearance at the collegiate level, especially in revenue sports like football and basketball — and it’s here to stay.
Sadly, though, there aren’t a ton of guardrails from state to state on how NIL is governed and monitored, and it has led to a lot of inequality and stretching of the rules across the country. NIL is a good thing for student-athletes to finally benefit from their hard work, but nobody really knows how it is best supported and held in check. When there are loopholes, some will always find a way to skirt the spirit of what is intended.
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith has been a proponent of NIL, but has continually banged the drum that there needs to be better oversight to level the playing field across teams, conferences, and states.
Well, now Smith is throwing his weight behind an effort to do just that from Ohio congressmen Mike Carey and Greg Landsmen. It’s called the “Student Athlete Level Playing Field Act,” and it is a bipartisan bill designed to create a standard for NIL at the federal level.
“I’m pleased that student-athletes now have the opportunity to benefit from their name, image and likeness, Smith said in a statement released by Carey’s office. “At Ohio State, our NIL programming assists student-athletes as they capitalize on their hard work, generate income for necessary expenses, and learn marketing and financial literacy skills. However, NIL laws and regulations remain inconsistent from state to state. Representative Carey’s work to bring forth consistent, national NIL regulations will further protect student athletes and bring order to NIL policies and procedures nationwide. On behalf of Ohio State, I want to thank Representative Carey for this significant and important legislation.”
We can’t argue that there is something needed at a federal level to keep things in check and hold those in power accountable with the new, brave world of NIL, and we sincerely hope this or another bill like it finds its way into law at some point in the very near future.