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Game Changer: Oklahoma Senate Bill 840 Reshapes the NIL Landscape

By December 20th, 2023No Comments

Group of diverse athletes sitting together

By Camille N. Burge

Camille Burge web portrait

Camille N. Burge

Hang onto your helmets Oklahoma athletes, because Senate Bill 840 has rewritten the rules of the game! This historic legislation, first vetoed by Governor Stitt, but later passed by the House and Senate in 2023, injects the NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) landscape with a potent dose of Sooner Spirit, transforming the way athletes can capitalize on their own brands.

This isn’t just a change in rules, it’s a shift in power. Oklahoma athletes are no longer spectators in their own NIL journey. They are now entrepreneurs, influencers, and brand ambassadors, empowered to build their own legacies and share their talents with the world.

Prior to SB 840, the state’s NIL landscape was largely undefined, leaving athletes and institutions unsure of their rights in navigating this uncharted territory. Passing SB 840 is a game-changer: the Legislature tossed out the dusty old playbook and replaced it with a dynamic strategy for NIL success.

Here’s how the bill is revolutionizing the game:

  • Unlocking Opportunities: Gone are the days of confusion and uncertainty. Senate Bill 840 provides clear guidelines on permissible NIL activities, from endorsements and sponsorships to social media monetization. This empowers athletes to explore diverse opportunities and build their personal brands with confidence.
  • Ensuring Fairness: The bill doesn’t just open doors; it protects athletes, too. It mandates compensation for NIL usage in video games and other interactive media, ensuring athletes are fairly rewarded for the use of their digital likenesses.
  • Transparency and Accountability: Building trust is key, and Senate Bill 840 recognizes that. It establishes a framework for disclosing NIL agreements, fostering transparency and ensuring all parties are held accountable. To ensure transparency, student athletes must now disclose to their institutions any NIL deals they enter into, allowing for oversight and preventing potential conflicts of interest.
  • Educational Institution Involvement: The bill clearly outlines the role of educational institutions in NIL transactions. It prohibits institutions from interfering with student athletes’ NIL rights while requiring them to provide educational resources and guidance on NIL compliance. Providing guidance on NIL compliance empowers institutions to support their athletes and ensure a responsible and ethical NIL environment.

Like any bill, Senate Bill 840 isn’t without its critics. Some argue it lacks the comprehensive NIL protections offered by other states. Others worry about the potential for exploitation and the need for increased enforcement.

Despite these concerns, there’s no denying that Oklahoma Senate Bill 840 has ushered in a new era for NIL in the Sooner State. It’s a testament to the growing power and influence of college athletes and a step towards a more equitable and empowering NIL landscape. As the game continues to evolve, Oklahoma’s bold move will undoubtedly serve as an inspiration for other states, paving the way for a future where athletes are recognized and valued not just for their athletic prowess, but also for the unique individuals they are.

About the author:

Camille N. Burge is a litigation attorney who represents individuals and both privately-held and public companies in a wide range of civil litigation and family law matters. | 405.552.2447

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