Gov. Wolf states NIL signifies ‘new chapter’ of college athletics

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STATE COLLEGE (WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — On Monday, Governor Tom Wolf joined Penn State University (PSU) athletes, university leadership and lawmakers at Beaver Stadium to celebrate the passing of Act 26 of 2021, allowing college athletes in Pennsylvania to profit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL).  

The governor was joined by student athletes Anna Camden and Jahan Dotson, President Eric Barron, Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour, Senator Jake Corman, and Representative Ed Gainey.

“Pennsylvania is home to many outstanding student athletes who devote countless hours of their time, effort, and passion to achievement both in the classroom and on the field,” stated Gov. Wolf. “This new chapter for athletes across Pennsylvania will allow collegiate athletes to finally earn compensation for endorsements without sacrifice to the sport they have dedicated much of their lives to play.”

Act 26 of 2021 amends the Public School Code to allow athletes at Pennsylvania colleges to earn money from endorsements, such as sponsorships and appearances without affecting their eligibility to compete. Act 26 does not allow student athletes to receive payment for playing a sport or athletic achievement.

“At Penn State, our 800+ varsity student athletes have raised the bar for dedication, work ethic and pursuit of excellence,” said President Barron. “They pursue challenging academic programs and spend rigorous and exhausting hours practicing. They compete at the highest levels, and contribute to campus life in countless ways. Our student athletes are an impressive group, and it’s our responsibility to do everything possible to ensure their success beyond college.

“Name, Image and Likeness rights is an important step in realizing that goal. And we appreciate that Pennsylvania has enacted a bill that gives student athletes the ability to earn compensation based on their NIL.”

Act 26 comes in direct response from the NCAA adopting a policy for NIL on June 30th, under the guidance of:

  • Individuals can engage in NIL activities that are consistent with the law of the state where the school is located. Colleges and universities may be a resource for state law questions.
  • College athletes who attend a school in a state without an NIL law can engage in this type of activity without violating NCAA rules related to name, image and likeness.
  • Individuals can use a professional services provider for NIL activities.
  • Student-athletes should report NIL activities consistent with state law or school and conference requirements to their school.

“This step toward fairness for athletes aligns with changes taking place in other states and at the national level within the NCAA,” stated Gov. Wolf. “It will also help to ensure that Pennsylvania colleges and universities remain competitive to future athletic prospects. This is an exciting moment for athletes and colleges in Pennsylvania, and I am proud to sign the law allowing for these opportunities.”

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