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Georgia Gov. Kemp signs law for college athletes to profit off name, image and likeness

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signs a bill into law on Thursday that allows college athletes there to profit off their name, image and likeness. (Brian Kemp's Office, Brian Kemp's Office)

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed legislation on Thursday to allow college athletes in the state to profit off of their name, image and likeness.

Kemp signed House Bill 617 on the campus of the University of Georgia, which will allow athletes in the Peach State to earn money for things such as autographs, personal appearances and posts on social media.

Florida also has a law going into effect on July 1 regarding name, image and likeness for college athletes. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed that last year.

“College athletics are an essential part of the fabric of who we are as Georgians,” Kemp said.

“It is well past time for college athletes to be fairly compensated for all that they do for our universities and our state. It is our hope that this bill will encourage more student athletes to come to Georgia to receive both a great education and the opportunity to compete at the highest level. As a diehard Georgia sports fan, I am so proud of the contributions that our student athletes have made to our great state and look forward to cheering them on as we fully re-open and return back to normal.”

Georgia’s law contains language that creates a “pooling arrangement” so that current athletes contribute a certain percentage of the money that they earn — up to a staggering 75% — to former athletes.

There has been hope for a federal ruling on name, image and likeness in college athletics as opposed to each state having their own, but there has been little progress on that. The Supreme Court is scheduled to render a decision in the Alston vs. NCAA antitrust case this summer and that could help frame what a name, image and likeness setup could eventually entail.

While that case isn’t tied to name, image and likeness issues, certain aspects of a decision could help any future federal legislation about it. Outside of Florida and Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and New Mexico have laws starting July 1 to begin compensating college athletes for their name, image and likeness. The NCAA could still impede those laws from going into effect by filing injunctions prior to July 1.


About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.