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Governor Wolf Signs Bill Legalizing NIL Compensation In Pennsylvania

Update, 4 p.m.: Penn State Athletics released a statement acknowledging Pennsylvania’s new law legalizing NIL compensation.

We are excited the lawmakers in Pennsylvania passed law to allow our students to explore opportunities involving their name, image and likeness. This law will give our students the same opportunities that students in states with NIL laws have to receive payment for the use of their name, image or likeness. We have always focused on preparing our students for a lifetime of impact and this new law will allow our students to grow their entrepreneurial spirit which they will carry with them long beyond their time at Penn State. 

Original Story: College athletes in Pennsylvania can now earn compensation for the use of their names, images, and likenesses (NIL) thanks to a bill signed by Governor Tom Wolf Wednesday.

The new legislation became law Wednesday when Wolf approved the next state budget. Article XX-K of Senate Bill 381 says student-athletes can profit from the use of their names, images, and likenesses and obtain professional representation like agents and attorneys, so long as it’s NIL-related.

Additionally, schools and conferences can’t prevent athletes from earning money from the use of their names, images, and likenesses.

There are limits to NIL compensation, though. Athletes can’t use the intellectual property of their schools (like the Nittany Lion logo) for their own brands. Additionally, they can’t strike deals with companies dealing in tobacco, adult entertainment, gambling, and other vices. Schools could also prevent NIL-related endeavors if they “conflict with institutional values.”

Schools also cannot use NIL-related compensation as a recruitment tactic. College representatives can’t represent an athlete at that school for a business agreement or brand deal.

To date, Penn State hasn’t publicly commented on its own NIL policies. However, as The Athletic‘s Audrey Snyder reported earlier Wednesday, the Nittany Lions aren’t oblivious to the changes coming to college sports. Penn State football is holding NIL-related meetings with recruits as part of official visits, mostly to help explain the ins and outs and lay out the groundwork. Players are encouraged to meet with Penn State before signing any deals or contracts, too.

The NCAA’s Division I Council met Monday to approve similar NIL legislation. Its full board is expected to meet Wednesday and approve the new rules that would begin for athletes in all states starting July 1. Pennsylvania’s own policy has already taken effect thanks to Wolf’s approval.

About 25 states have now individually legalized NIL laws, according to Sports Illustrated. That number is expected to only grow as the movement continues gaining steam.

To date, no known Penn Staters have struck any lucrative deals just yet, but Sean Clifford seems like he’s interested.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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