On Wednesday afternoon, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law Senate Bill 94, which was a bipartisan bill that would allow collegiate athletes in the state of New Mexico to begin to make money from the use of their name, image, and likeness.
The law will go into effect on July 1st, the same day that a similar law will go into effect in the state of Florida, becoming the first two states that will have the laws in effect.
“The NCAA model is not working for the athletes who drive the product,” Lujan Grisham’s press secretary told the Albuquerque Journal following the pass of the bill on Wednesday.
New Mexico’s law includes that athletes can receive food, shelter, having medical expenses paid for by a third party, or making money based off the use of their name, image, and likeness. Meaning that athletes featured on billboards, in commercials, or in video games can now begin to make money without fear of being declared ineligible. Athletes can also hire agents to set up endorsement deals but cannot hire them to represent them in contact with professional teams.
The issue of collegiate athletes making money from the use of their name, image, and likeness has always been a hot topic. The issue came to a head a little over a decade ago when video game maker Electronic Arts came under fire by using athlete’s images and likenesses, and numbers, but leaving off their names in attempt to replicate real life college teams in their games without giving compensation to the athletes.
The games that EA made were part of the anti-trust lawsuit brought against the NCAA, EA and the College Licensing Company filed by former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon in 2009 after noticing that his own number and likeness were being used in EA’s NCAA Basketball video game.
The suit was settled in 2014 as EA and the Collegiate Licensing Company paid out former collegiate athletes $40 million. In the aftermath of the lawsuit, the CLC pulled their agreement with EA, who in turn stopped making their popular College Football and College Basketball video games.
In 2010, Georgia wide receiver AJ Green was suspended four games for selling the jersey that he wore during the Independence Bowl from the previous season. Green’s stance was that he sold his jersey to an agent, which the NCAA deemed as being in violation of their rules.
The Mountain West has yet to give a response to the passing of New Mexico’s law.