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New Virginia law allows student athlete compensation deals

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin on Thursday signed into a law a new bill that allows universities to pay student athletes in name, image and likeness deals. It bars the NCAA from punishing schools for NIL compensation deals. File Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI .
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin on Thursday signed into a law a new bill that allows universities to pay student athletes in name, image and likeness deals. It bars the NCAA from punishing schools for NIL compensation deals. File Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI . | License Photo

April 18 (UPI) -- A new Virginia law signed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin on Thursday allows universities to pay student athletes for name, image and likeness endorsements.

It's the first state law that could override or nullify the NCAA's rules on student athlete NIL compensation.

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The new law takes effect July 1. It outlaws NCCA punishment for schools paying athletes through the NIL deals.

The new law states, "No institution or agent thereof, athletic association, athletic conference, or other organization with authority over intercollegiate athletics shall prohibit or prevent a student-athlete from earning compensation for the use of his name, image, or likeness, except as otherwise permitted in this section."

According to the bill's author, Virginia commonwealth delegate Terry Austin, administrators from the University of Virginia took a leading role in writing the legislation.

"If this law gets us closer to a federal or a national solution for college athletics then it will be more than worthwhile," University of Virginia athletic director Carla Williams said. "Until then, we have an obligation to ensure we maintain an elite athletics program at UVA."

The bill says compensation through NIL deals won't make student athletes employees of universities.

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"Nothing in this section shall be construed to impact the employment status of a student-athlete," the bill said, "or qualify a student-athlete as an employee of an institution solely because the student-athlete engages in name, image, or likeness opportunities."

The law bars student athletes from deals involving alcohol, adult entertainment, cannabis, tobacco, weapons or gambling.

Virginia Tech athletic director Whit Babcock praised the governor and state Legislature for passing the law.

"We are thankful to the state Legislature and Gov. Youngkin for their proactive work in the NIL space," Babcock said. "We take care of our student athletes and recognize the value they bring to ensure the longstanding success of our athletic programs."

He said it would enhance the school's athlete recruitment efforts.

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