Ohio State Senator Niraj Antani introduces bill to help college athletes

Niraj Antani, a Republican and the first Indian-American to be elected to the Ohio State Senate being sworn in Jan. 4, 2021. Photo: courtesy Niraj Antani

Ohio State Senator Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) introduced a bill on May 24, 2021 to legalize college athletes earning compensation from their name, image, and likeness. Antani is the only Indian-American ever elected to the Ohio upper house.

The bill prohibits any college, university, or intercollegiate athletic association from preventing a student from participating in athletics as a result of this compensation, according to a press release from the Ohio senate.

Under the bill, student athletes will be permitted to obtain professional representation or enter into contracts for endorsements.

The student must inform the college or university of their intent to enter into the contract at least 15 days before they enter into the contract.

Sen. Antani said, in the press release, that when he was a student at the Ohio State University, he saw the hard work student athletes put into their academics and their sport.

“Not every student athlete has a scholarship and even for those that do, it may only cover their cost of attendance, leaving little left over for living expenses. They should be able to benefit from their own name, image, and likeness. Most will not get endorsement deals from major shoe and apparel companies, but rather from their hometown businesses, such as an auto dealer or bookstore. My bill legalizes this in a safe and reasonable manner. I would like to thank Director of Athletics Gene Smith and The Ohio State University for their support and cooperation in this endeavor,” added Sen. Antani.

Director of Athletics Gene Smith of The Ohio State University thanked Sen. Antani for his work and leadership in getting this bill to the Ohio General Assembly.

He said, “We’ve been preparing for some form of legislation to be enacted and I am happy that all student-athletes at Ohio universities and schools will have an opportunity to capitalize on their own name, image and likeness.”

According to the press release, the bill does not require universities to enable these opportunities for their athletes. Athletes will be prohibited from entering into contracts where they will be associated with marijuana, alcohol, tobacco, or casinos.




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