College athletes can receive compensation for the first time in Michigan history under newly signed bills

Posted at 6:41 PM, Dec 30, 2020

LANSING (WXYZ) — Gov. Gretchen Whtimer signed Wednesday two House Bills allowing college athletes to receive compensation for the first time in Michigan history.

House Bill 5217 and House Bill 5218 were signed to allow student-athletes to use "their own name, image, likeness, and reputation for financial compensation."

“For years we have all enjoyed the incredible talent of young athletes across the state. This legislation will change the lives of young men and women for years to come,” Gov. Whitmer said in a statement. “As only the second state in the nation to pass this historic legislation, I am proud to sign this bipartisan legislation today on behalf of our current and future student-athletes. I am hopeful that the NCAA will set a national standard so that all players across the country are afforded the same opportunities. As always stay safe and go green!”

This applies to players from any sport in all divisions. However, student-athletes cannot enter into apparel contracts that conflict with the apparel contracts of their schools. They must also disclose those contracts to their schools prior to signing, a release from the governor's office said.

Additionally, the bills don't give students the right to use trademarked names, symbols, intellectual property, and logos of schools, associations, or conferences.

“It’s high time that collegiate players are respected and compensated for the talents that they’ve spent their entire lives trying to perfect,” said Joique Bell, former running back with the Detroit Lions and Wayne State University. “I’ve always supported the efforts to protect the best interests of athletes, especially those with tremendous abilities who play at all levels of the NCAA. Working two jobs, going to school full time, playing football, and raising my son is a lot for any person, especially financially. My story is just one of many for collegiate student-athletes. We need to continually find ways to help student-athletes get ahead and build their brands early, while also protecting the players and the integrity of the sport.”

Read a summary of the bills below.

House Bill 5217 prohibits post-secondary educational institutions from enforcing rules that prohibit student-athletes from profiting from promotional deals. Students may earn compensation for their name, image, or likeness, and could not be prevented from playing intercollegiate sports or receiving scholarships because of doing so. The bill was sponsored by Representative Brandt Iden (R-Kalamazoo).

House Bill 5218 repeals a section of the Penal Code which prohibits athletic agents from inducing students into contracts before their eligibility for college athletics expires. The bill also repeals a section of the Revised Judicature Act which creates civil liability for interfering with the “prospective advantage” given by an institution of higher education by virtue of its relationship with the student-athlete, by promising an improper gift or service to the athlete, if that gift results in injury to the school. The bill was sponsored by Representative Joe Tate (D-Detroit).

Michigan is among one of the first states to pass this legislation, which will take effect in the state on Dec. 31, 2022.