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University of Texas football players, and all college athletes in Texas, will now be able to profit off of their name, image and likeness. (Texas Football/Twitter)

Student-athletes at the University of Texas at Austin, Texas State University and other Texas schools can now earn money with their name, image and likeness effective Thursday.


Gov. Greg Abbott signed the landmark bill into law on June 14 and joined 25 other states that have passed similar legislation. Fifteen of those state's laws go into effect today.

The bill applies to athletes at all public, private and independent institutions. Sports information directors at the University of Texas declined to comment on the matter.

The landmark law is considered by many to be the first of many steps leading to collegiate athlete compensation, but don't expect any of the Longhorns to be riding around in burnt orange Lamborghinis anytime soon. For many athletes, including Texas State volleyball player Janell Fitzgerald, it just means that they can use their fan support on and off the court to promote their name brand. She'd been asking about using her name several times before and is tuned in to news about student-athlete rights.

"As a student-athlete, we should be able to promote just like other people do," Fitzgerald told Austonia. "We put in the same work, on and off the court and we should be able to use our platform to help ourselves and others."

Without a hint of nervousness, Fitzgerald said she told Texas Congressmen why she wanted the bill: With over 100,000 followers on TikTok and counting, Fitzgerald thought it only fair that she can profit off of her name's growing recognition.


So, what exactly does the bill allow Fitzgerald and other student-athletes in the Austin metro to do?

New school rules

According to the legislation, institutions cannot "adopt or enforce a policy, requirement, standard or limitation that prohibits or otherwise prevents a student-athlete participating in an intercollegiate athletic program at the institution from earning compensation for the use of the student athlete's name, image or likeness."

Additionally, institutions cannot stop student-athletes from obtaining professional representation, including "representation by an athlete agent or attorney, for contracts or other legal matters relating to the use of the student athlete's name image or likeness."

More player rights—with limits

The legislature wanted to ensure that this new law was not abused.

Effectively, schools may choose or choose to not sign for the rights to a player's name, image and likeness if the contract with the athlete violates the school's honor code, team contract or part of the institutional contract.

And you won't see any of the Longhorns or Bobcats advertising for tobacco, e-cigarette, anabolic steroids, casino gambling, a firearm the student-athlete cannot legally purchase or sexually-oriented business—all of those Wild West-esque sponsorships are strictly prohibited by the law.

What about autographs?

Yes! Student-athletes in Texas can make money from selling their own autographs in a "manner that does not otherwise conflict with a provision of this section."

University of Texas athletes interact with fans during Juneteenth celebrations. (Longhorn Athletics/Twitter)


Student-athletes hit the books

According to the bill, all institutions that the bill applies to must require student-athletes to attend a financial literacy and life skills workshop at the beginning of the student's first and third academic years at the institution.

Future legislation

Is the NCAA's concept of "amateurism" dead?

While salaried collegiate athletes are far from reality, there has been a shift in student-athlete rights in recent years.

Though the Supreme Court has never addressed potential pay, they did rule that schools should pay for education-related benefits including laptop computers and paid internships. As Justice Brett Kavanaugh put it in the unanimous ruling, "The NCAA is not above the law."

Because of both the NIL law and recent shifts in ideas, Fitzgerald said she's going to continue to tune in to the topic of student athlete rights, especially as her team continues to advance to the NCAA Championship Tournament and gain more recognition.

"I liked being a part of the legislative process, it was super special to me," Fitzgerald said. "I've been following more about what's going on since."

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