Gov. Henry McMaster holds ceremonial bill signing allowing athletes to profit off of name, image, and likeness

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CLEMSON, S.C. (WSPA) – Governor Henry McMaster held a ceremonial bill signing Monday afternoon at Clemson University.

The Compensation of Intercollegiate Athletes bill will allow college student athletes in South Carolina to be compensated for the use of their name, image and likeness by third parties unaffiliated with their schools.

“This new law is an exercise in free enterprise, that allows those who have attracted the attention and achieved a certain status in athletics particularly, to be recognized for that without interfering with their academic performance,” McMaster said.

“SC, Clemson, Coastal, etc. were a big part of the process. Had chance to meet before the subcommittees in both the Senate and House and advocated heavily for it,” Clemson Associate Athletic Director for Strategic Communications Jeff Kallin said. “This is not ‘pay for play.’ This is the student-athletes permitted to earn based off their NIL [name, image, and likeness]. Institutions may not be involved in their procurement of sponsorship deals. No money comes from schools or taxpayers.”

Kallin said institutions by law, can’t facilitate the deals, but athletes can hire agents to help. Clemson University football player, Darien Rencher, said this has been a long time coming.

“I think it’s beautiful. Honestly, I think it was a long time coming, just for how things have changed, the landscape of college athletics. Now we have the opportunities to build our brands, our personal platforms. And to think that you couldn’t be able to use what you achieved to have monetary value or merchandise value, is kind of unamerican,” Rencher said.

“This is really allowing our student-athletes to monetize their name, image, and likeness through a set of rules and regulations, their ability to have representation. These will be real wages for them, so they will have to pay taxes on them,” said Dan Radakovich, Clemson Director of Athletics.

Lawmakers said student athletes will now be put on the same level of playing field as others students at universities who earn money.

“I think that’s going to be the coolest part about what’s coming forth for the future of collegiate athletics. So, we’ll have a chance to earn things that I feel like we’ve achieved just like any other student on campus. If they have a gift, if they have a talent, something they want to do, they have a platform, they can use that,” Rencher said.

Clemson University Athletics said universities will help educate athletes on the do’s and don’ts in the law.

“I think it’s going to teach them one of the really great life lessons because once you’re done being a student-athlete, you go out into the working world. So you may have a little opportunity while you’re in college to get a glimpse of what that might be,” Radakovich said.

Clemson University Athletics said all schools are awaiting exact NCAA determination or national legislation to standardize. Officials also said about 19 other states across the country have something like this.

McMaster was joined by Clemson President Jim Clements, Clemson Director of Athletics Dan Radakovich, University of South Carolina Senior Deputy Athletics Director Chance Miller, members of the General Assembly, and other state leaders for the ceremonial signing.

The signing took place at the Clemson Memorial Stadium Nieri Family Student-Athlete Enrichment Center at 2 p.m.

Kallin said the bill will go into effect on July 1, 2022.

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