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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.
On Thursday, I laid out SB 1385 in the Higher Education Committee which will allow students to earn compensation for their name, image, and likeness.
Thanks to Janell Fitzgerald of the @txst Women's Volleyball team for sharing her perspective with the committee! #TXlege pic.twitter.com/8hWm96TWt4
— Jim Murphy (@JimMurphy133) May 8, 2021
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.
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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Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced a record-setting second quarter during an earnings call broadcasted from the Giga Texas construction site in Southeast Travis County on Monday.
The electric carmaker reported more than $1 billion in quarterly net income and the production of more than 200,000 vehicles for the first time despite challenges such as a global semiconductor shortage.
"It … seems that public sentiment towards electric vehicles is at an inflection point, and at this point, I think, almost everyone agrees electric vehicles are the only way forward," Musk said.
Exterior shots taken just a while ago of Giga Texas (while @elonmusk is reportedly at the Gigafactory!) during today's earnings call!
Hope @peterdog15 got to catch the technoking in his video! #fastestinhistory #Tesla pic.twitter.com/WqeDlb5wU3
— Austin Tesla Club (@AustinTeslaClub) July 26, 2021
Despite rising consumer demand and adequate factory capacity, Tesla faces what Musk described as a "quite serious" global semiconductor shortage, which will determine the company's growth rate for the rest of the year.
With increased revenue and production, Tesla is investing in new factories, Chief Financial Officer Zachary Kirkhorn said. These include Giga Texas, the $1.1 billion manufacturing plant that broke ground last summer and is slated to open later this year.
The Giga Texas factory in Southeast Travis County has rapidly increased in size since ground broke last August. (Tesla)
Musk commended the construction team for "incredible progress," transforming what was basically a vacant site into "a mostly complete large factory a year later."
I was at Giga Texas yesterday. Team is making excellent progress. Building will be almost a mile long when complete.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 25, 2021
Giga Texas will produce the highly anticipated Cybertruck, along with other models, but Musk said scaling its production will be difficult, especially given the supply chain delays caused by the pandemic. "It's going to move as fast as the slowest of its up to 10,000 unique parts," he said.
In other news, Musk said Monday's earnings call would likely be his last regular appearance, only jumping on future quarterly calls when big announcements warrant it.
Tesla Solar recently made news when it announced plans to build the nation's most sustainable residential community in Southeast Austin earlier this month. The newly built homes will feature Tesla solar roof tiles and Powerwall battery storage as well as electric vehicle charging stations.
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The city of Austin released a shortlist of seven candidates for the police chief position left vacant when Brian Manley retired in March.
City Manager Spencer Cronk hopes to announce an appointment by the end of August, which will require City Council approval.
The finalists, chosen from a field of 46 applicants, include:
- APD Interim Chief Joseph Chacon, who previously served as an assistant chief in the department for almost five years
- Anne Kirkpatrick, former police chief in Oakland, California, who was fired last year after a federal monitor criticized her handling of a fatal 2018 police shooting of a homeless man
- Dallas Police Department Assistant Chief Avery L. Moore, who is a 30-year veteran of the department
- Atlanta Police Department Deputy Chief Celeste Murphy, who manages the department's community services division
- Dekalb County Police Chief Mirtha V. Ramos, who previously served as division chief in the Miami-Dade Police Department
- Wichita Police Department Chief Gordon Ramsay, who is a former president of the Minnesota Police Chief's Association as well as one of the first police chiefs of a major U.S. City to call George Floyd's death a murder, as reported by the Wichita Eagle
- Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Emada E. Tingirides, who is also commanding officer of the department's newly formed Community Safety Partnership Bureau, which serves L.A.'s underserved communities
City staff will interview the finalists in the coming weeks, with several community input opportunities to come, according to a Monday press release.
The city conducted a public survey in March and hosted community input meetings in April to learn more about what residents are looking for in their next police chief, which helped shape the selection criteria for the position.
"They want to see the Chief be reform-minded and transparent and have a track record of fostering community involvement and accountability," Cronk said in the release. "The candidates selected show these characteristics in various ways."
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Days after Austin began once again recommending masks in public spaces, Austin ISD announced Monday that kindergarten through sixth-grade classes will have virtual options this fall.
The district will discuss the move in a special board meeting Monday evening starting at 5 p.m., while full details will be released Friday.
Teachers will not have to fret about the new option—no educators will have to juggle both virtual and in-person learning. Instead, certain teachers will specialize in virtual education, according to a press release.
The news comes after a recent spike in COVID cases in Travis County and across the nation. Children typically suffer fewer symptoms of COVID when contracted, but they are now catching the virus more often than their older counterparts without a vaccine available to them and as the more contagious Delta variant is quickly being spread.
While local health officials are recommending everyone wear masks, public school districts are unable to mandate masks due to an executive order issued by Gov. Greg Abbott in May.
Parents have expressed concern about classrooms with masks unenforceable and children under the age of 12 ineligible for a vaccine. Some have even said they would look for alternative schooling if AISD did not offer a virtual option for students.
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