Government wins bill allowing athletes to use UConn name in deals
Connecticut lawmakers have passed a bill that would allow state college athletes to use their school’s name and logo in sponsorship deals.
It still needs the signature of Gov. Ned Lamont, whose office said Monday it supports the concept of the legislation but will need to read it before deciding whether to enact it.
UConn had requested the bill, which updates last year’s state law that allows athletes to make money by marketing their name, image and likeness.
As a result of this law, Connecticut athletes – led by UConn women’s basketball star Paige Bueckers – were able to sign deals for products such as clothing lines and sports drinks, but did not been authorized to use the name of the school in these endorsements.
UConn executive associate athletic director Neal Eskin said the current law, which also prohibits athletes from using the UConn logo, mascot or other corporate marks, puts the Huskies at a recruiting disadvantage.
“None of us want to hinder the ability of our exceptional coaches to recruit talented student-athletes to UConn,” he said in March. “In order to compete at the highest level, we must ensure that student-athletes who choose to enroll at the University of Connecticut have the same opportunities as those at schools in other states.”
Connecticut and several other states passed laws last year to allow athletes to earn money on endorsement deals starting July 1. .
The NCAA never found a way to bring the new business model under its umbrella until state laws took effect, leading to different rules in different states.
Other states have made similar changes to what Connecticut did this session — or repealed NIL laws entirely to remove restrictions on athletes making money from their name, image and likeness.
“If I were to advise state legislatures, I would tell them to repeal all state NIL laws,” Blake Lawrence, whose company Opendorse helps schools and athletes navigate the NIL landscape, told the AP. in March. The NCAA has changed its rules and student athletes are being generously compensated and everything the states have put in place is unnecessarily restrictive.
Connecticut’s new bill would also require the UConn Board of Trustees and the Higher Education Board of Trustees to each submit a report to lawmakers by January on the tax impact of student endorsement contracts. athletes, employment activities and the use of their corporate marks.