college athletes could wear school logos for commercial purposes

HARTFORD — The state’s top athletes could finally wear their team uniforms, including logos like the UConn Husky or Southern Connecticut Owl, in approved legislation in the state Senate on Tuesday under so-called name, image and likeness rules adopted last year by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

While state law passed last year prohibited athletes from using identifying marks from their colleges when cashing in their photos, it didn’t take long for college officials to come to their senses. realized that this put Connecticut’s higher education institutions at a disadvantage when recruiting top-notch athletes.

The law project, which passed 33-1, is heading to the House of Representatives and would take effect July 1. This leaves room for universities to eventually enter into agreements with players’ agents to possibly pay something for the use of the institutions’ names and logos. It also does not require young athletes to use their college logos.

State Sen. Derek Slap, D-West Hartford, Co-Chair of the Higher Education Committee, introduced the legislation, which he described as emerging in a very rapidly changing landscape for higher education and the enabling marketplace. students to earn money during their undergraduate studies, breaking the myth of amateur athletics.

The bill would require UConn’s board and board of directors to submit a report on the tax impact of the issue by Jan. 1, 2023.

Slap said the bill would create more fairness in the multi-billion dollar college athletics industry, by distributing some revenue to athletes. “And for the most part, our student-athletes are not able to enjoy the fruits of their labor and talent,” he said, warning that other states are passing broader name laws, image and likeness that might make it more attractive for stars to attend college in those states.

“In a very short time, Connecticut has been faced with a situation where we have to pass this bill in order to stay competitive with our other states,” Slap said. “I believe there are only two states that currently do not allow their student-athletes to use the logo or branding of the college/institution they are attending.”

He said while basketball and soccer stars might benefit the most, the majority of student-athletes play lesser-known sports and might want to attend summer camps or endorse products wearing their tops. uniform.

Senator Paul Formica, R-East Lyme, noted that while the report will be submitted on the tax implications of the new revenue landscape, there are no further requirements.

“I don’t think this legislative body wants to be in a position to have to approve or vote on every deal, endorsement deal that our student-athletes enter into, but what we do want is some transparency in the process and I think we will have that with what is required of schools and universities,” Slap said.

Senator Tony Hwang, R-Fairfield, asked if there should be further study of the issue in the future in a rapidly changing market. “Have we done follow-up analysis on other sports within our college system, from rowing to swimming and different sports?” Hwang asked.

The bipartisan 2021 bill was drafted in cooperation with higher education officials.

“It’s them, the coaches in particular, who are in the recruiting business, aren’t they?” Clack said. “Who are out there trying to get student athletes to not just Connecticut but other places to come to Connecticut. They tell us that it is important for our student-athletes and that it is also important for our institutions.

[email protected] Twitter: @KenDixonCT

Norman D. Briggs