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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs off on images, likeness bills for college athletes

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

College athletes in Michigan will be able to profit from their own name, image and likeness after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed bipartisan legislation proposed by two representatives who were college athletes.

Whitmer made it official Wednesday as Michigan is among the first states to pass and sign NIL legislation allowing college athletes an opportunity to benefit financially while attending college.

The Michigan NIL legislation will go into effect Dec. 31, 2022.

The Michigan NIL legislation will go into effect Dec. 31, 2022.

The bipartisan plan, House Bills 5217 and 5218, originally was introduced in the Michigan State House by Democrat Joe Tate and Republican Brandt Iden. Iden, who played tennis for Kalamazoo College, introduced House Bill 5217 which “prohibits preventing a student athlete from receiving compensation for the use of his or her name, likeness, or reputation. Tate, who was a three-year starting offensive lineman at Michigan State and a co-captain in 2003, introduced House Bill 5218 which “repeals criminal and civil provisions related to prohibited conduct of an athletic agent.”

“At its core, this legislation is to ensure student-athletes in Michigan are treated fairly and they are able to have a fulfilling college experience,” Tate said in a release Wednesday.

Athletes will be able to enter into endorsement deals, hire agents and accept gifts and will not be punished by their schools. They cannot, however, sign an apparel contract that conflicts with the apparel contracts of their schools.

Whitmer wants to see the NCAA adopt a national standard for all states so there is a consistency in how NIL is applied to athletes across the country.

“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,” Whitmer said in a release. “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.”

The NCAA in November released details of proposed rules changes that would allow athletes to be compensated for their names, images and likenesses. The NCAA Division I Council is set for final approval of the proposals Jan. 11 and the Division I Board of Directors on Jan. 14.

achengelis@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @chengelis