With the stroke of the pen Monday, Gov. Mike DeWine did what state lawmakers failed to do after weeks of trying to meet a July 1 deadline.
DeWine signed an Executive Order to legalize the compensation of college athletes without jeopardizing their amatuer status.
The measure permits college athletes at public institutions to be paid for commercial endorsements and to be compensated for use of their name, image and likeness.
The deadline is important because several other states, including Florida and Texas had passed new image and likeness laws that take effect July 1.
DeWine, along with authorities from Ohio State University, said the order will retain Ohio’s competitiveness when it comes to recruiting athletes for all sports.
“Under this order student athletes will be able to get professional representation and also be able to enter contracts for endorsements. They’ll be required to inform their college or university of any contract that they enter into,” DeWine said.
State lawmakers were headed towards passage of the plan with bi-partisan support last week until Rep. Jena Powell, R- Arcanum, won passage of an amendment that prohibits transgender girls from competing in women’s high school sports.
During her floor speech, Powell was nearly shouted down by Democrats on the floor of the Ohio House but she persisted and won support from nearly every Republican member of the Ohio House.
The sponsor of the name and likeness bill, Sen. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, wanted the emergency clause to remain part of the bill so it could take effect immediately upon the Governor’s signature.
But Antani said he would need Democratic votes to make that happen. He said with Powell’s amendment in the bill it would be impossible.
Later, he inserted the plan into a House-passed bill on another topic, but again, Antani wanted to make the July 1 deadline.
That’s when Antani turned to Lt. Gov. Jon Husted. With Husted’s help, they convinced Gov. Mike DeWine to issue the Executive Order.
“This is going to protect student athletes. Every student athlete in Ohio, every student athlete that is being recruited across Ohio to come to Ohio will know here and henceforth that their name and likeness rights are protected here in Ohio,” Antani said.
Rep. Powell had some choice words for the Governor when she learned of the Executive Order.
“It was very clear in Governor DeWine’s Executive Order that he cares more for male college athletes making more money than protecting female sports in our state,” Powell said.
At his signing ceremony, attended by Ohio State University President Kristina Johnson, OSU Athletic Director Gene Smith and former OSU quarterback Cardale Jones, DeWine said he does not support Powell’s transgender prohibition amendment.
Instead, he was anxious to make sure Antani’s plan takes effect by july 1 to keep Ohio competitive with other states.
“I want to let everybody know that Ohio is in the game. Ohio’s going to stay in the game,” DeWine said.
Universities still want the name, image and likeness language to be passed as part of a bill of some sort to give the plan more permanent status.
It could be inserted into the state budget bill this week
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