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Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signs name, image, likeness bill for college athletes

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 5/12/2021 Adam Sparks, Nashville Tennessean
Tennessee's Neyland Stadium. © Randy Sartin, USA TODAY Sports Tennessee's Neyland Stadium.

Tennessee became the 15th state to pass a bill allowing college athletes to earn money for the use of their name, image and likeness.

On Tuesday night, Gov. Bill Lee signed House Bill 1351, which will take effect Jan. 1, 2022. Tennessee is the latest state to sign a name, image and likeness (NIL) bill into law.

Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and New Mexico have NIL laws that will take effect July 1.

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Some states are moving ahead of the NCAA, which has been considering changes to its NIL rules. It’s a move that would fundamentally alter a system of amateurism that prevents athletes from participating in endorsement deals, monetizing their social-media followings or getting paid for signing autographs amid an enterprise that generates billions of dollars for their schools.

But the NCAA’s proposals would conflict with provisions of state laws.


Video: Gov. Bill Lee proposes $250 million to address student mental health (The Tennessean (Nashville))

Tennessee’s bill would affect college athletes in men's and women's sports, but especially high profile teams. There are four Division I FBS college football teams in the state — University of Tennessee, Vanderbilt University, University of Memphis and Middle Tennessee State University.

Tennessee's new bill reads: 

The bill also says that an institution cannot adopt rules that prevent or unduly restrict athletes from earning compensation for the use of their name, image or likeness.

However, the institution can prohibit certain uses of an athlete's name, image or likeness if it reasonably considers there to be a conflict with the values of the institution. For example, an athlete cannot promote gambling, tobacco, alcohol, and adult 

entertainment.

Steve Berkowitz, of USA TODAY, contributed to this report. Reach Adam Sparks at asparks@tennessean.com and on Twitter @AdamSparks.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signs name, image, likeness bill for college athletes

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