A Oklahoma senate bill introduced in late January 2023 was passed earlier this week, marking an important change in the hopes of both keeping the state more competitive in recruitment, as well as further support for the state’s student-athletes.
Senate Bill 840, proposed by State Senate majority leader Greg McCortney, included revisions to the state’s current NIL policy, with such revisions relating to school IP and athletes’ classification as employees, among others.
One such revision is athletes having the ability to profit from their name, image and likeness without a licensed agent. Current state law requires athletes to work with a licensed sports agent if they are receiving compensation.
“A lot of times, it’s just mom and dad that are helping their kids, so we’re making sure mom and dads can still help their kids,” Senator McCortney told KOCO – Channel 5 news in Oklahoma City. “I think it’s really important you don’t make parents become registered sports agents.”
Additionally, the bill supports the schools, by requiring transparency between companies and athletes to disclose their relationship to the schools.
“It gives universities the ability to really keep watch and help control a lot of these things,” McCortney added.
These changes are also designed to keep Oklahoma schools competitive in recruitment. With the Oklahoma Sooners shifting their conference affiliation from the Big-12 to the SEC in 2024, McCortney hopes these changes will support the athletes enough to stay relevant against the country’s best.
Despite the desire to keep the programs relevant, McCortney did say that at the end of the day, it’s about the athletes.
“More than anything, I want to protect the athletes in Oklahoma, and I want them to be able to benefit, where they can benefit,” McCortney added.
With the bill’s overwhelming approval, it now goes to the governor’s desk for final approval.
Dan Greene, associate attorney with Newman & Lickstein, told The NIL Deal that “assuming this bill is signed, it would arguably be the most impactful state NIL law passed since July 1, 2021.”
“It directly attacks the NCAA on a number of fronts,” Greene said. “Perhaps of most importance, the bill states that the NCAA cannot punish schools for participating in any of the activities allowed under the bill, and some of those activities are those expressly prohibited by the NCAA at this moment, including giving Oklahoma schools permission to provide legal services related to NIL deals for its athletes.”
Greene continued: “The bill also provides more coverage for schools for the actions of their connected collective, which has been a major concern for the NCAA as evidenced by their new NIL violation charging standard. We will now wait and see if any other state legislators entertain similar bills and how the NCAA reacts to this bill.”