New Missouri NIL Law Changes Landscape, Expands College Coaches' Role in Negotiations

“This is the new arms race.” That’s how Missouri State Representative and former University of Missouri offensive lineman Kurtis Gregory described the burgeoning patchwork of state laws that govern student athletes’ ability to profit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL). Missouri has now entered the NIL arms race.

Rep. Gregory made this statement following the Missouri legislature’s bipartisan passage of an amendment to the state’s 2021 NIL law (the Amendment). The Amendment, which follows a national deregulatory trend at the state level with respect to NIL, significantly loosens restrictions on a Missouri student athlete’s ability to monetize their NIL. Key provisions of the Amendment are as follows:

  • The Amendment strengthens Missouri collegiate coaches’ ability to advocate for student athletes by expressly permitting coaches to participate in meetings between NIL entities and student athletes and to act on a student athlete’s behalf in negotiating and ultimately executing NIL deals.
  • Under Missouri’s current NIL law, student athletes are barred from using the intellectual property of the educational institution they attend. The Amendment requires Missouri colleges and universities to develop a process for granting student athletes the right to use certain portions of the institution’s intellectual property (including logos, team names, and other copyrightable material) in their sponsorships. The Amendment does, however, provide that a college or university may charge a reasonable licensing fee for and impose restrictions on the use of such intellectual property.
  • The Amendment includes a number of provisions already found in NIL laws of other states, including:
    • Providing that nonprofit organizations may enter NIL compensation agreements with student athletes;
    • Fleshing out requirements for financial literacy workshops that colleges and universities must offer to student athletes (i.e., at least two (2) per year if the institution is a direct or indirect party to an agreement requiring the use of a student athlete’s NIL);
    • Shielding coaches from liability for decisions or actions routinely taken in the course of intercollegiate athletics that may affect a student athlete’s NIL earning potential; and
    • Memorializing the right of student athletes to obtain professional representation, such as a licensed attorney or an accredited agent, to secure NIL compensation.
  • The Amendment is not limited to current collegiate student athletes. It provides that Missouri high school athletes may start inking NIL deals upon signing a letter of intent or other written enrollment agreement with an in-state college or university, thus incentivizing Missouri high school students to sign with in-state colleges and universities. Further, Missouri high school athletes may have conversations about earning NIL compensation prior to signing a letter of intent or other commitment (but may only receive NIL compensation after signing with an in-state college or university).
  • The Amendment also stakes out positions on broader, national questions about NIL, primarily by (i) including a provision expressly stating that student athletes are not employees of their respective educational institutions and (ii) making clear that Missouri colleges and universities cannot uphold rules promulgated by the NCAA or any athletic conference that prevent student athletes from entering into NIL deals.

Having passed through the Missouri legislature, the Amendment now goes to the desk of Governor Mike Parson to be signed into law. While the provisions discussed here provide insight into key aspects of the Amendment, they are not an exhaustive list of the changes. Should you have any questions about NIL rules and laws in Missouri or any other jurisdiction, please contact Eric Fishman, Justin Goldberg, or Mike Ragan using the contact information provided below.


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