Fast-tracked bill permits Ohio college athlete compensation

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — College athletes in Ohio could earn money through endorsements and sponsorship deals based on their names, images and likenesses, under fast-tracked legislation headed for a final legislative vote this week.

The bill sponsored by state Sen. Niraj Antani, a suburban Dayton Republican, prevents universities or college athletic conferences from punishing athletes if they are compensated based on their sports performance.

Such compensation could involve anything from a book-signing at a bookstore to a deal with a local restaurant. Exceptions include sponsorships for marijuana, alcohol, tobacco and casinos.

Athletes would have to notify universities 15 days ahead of signing endorsement contracts. The measure mirrors similar efforts in other states and on the federal level as athletes fight for rights to compensation.

The Ohio House was expected to approve the legislation Thursday, a day after it was voted out of committee. The Senate passed it last week.

Ohio State football coach Ryan Day has testified before Senate and House committees that Ohio schools need the bill passed quickly to be competitive with colleges and universities in states with similar laws.

Since 2019, 16 states — including Arizona, Nebraska, and Michigan — have approved legislation allowing college athletes to make money through advertisements, sponsorship deals and other types of promotions based on their athletic success.