Transgender sports ban added to name, image, likeness bill that passes Ohio House

The bill will go back to the State Senate for reconsideration.

Credit: Andrrew Welsh-Huggins

Credit: Andrrew Welsh-Huggins

The Ohio House of Representatives voted Thursday to allow college athletes in the state to profit off their name, image and likeness.

However, the attachment of an amendment from Rep. Jena Powell (R-Arcanum) banning transgender girls and women from joining female teams at the high school or college level means it will go back to the State Senate for reconsideration.

While debating the amendment for close to an hour, multiple representatives suggested the original bill proposed by State Sen. Niraj Antoni (R-Miamisburg) would have enjoyed broad support from both sides of the aisle.

It passed 57-36 with the amendment.

“I continue to strongly pursue legislation to ensure student athletes receive in law their rights to their own name, image, and likeness by the July 1, 2021 deadline,” Antani said in a statement. “I am optimistic in my prospects and I will continue to work hard to get this done for our student athletes.”

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine issued a statement Friday morning regarding the amendment.

“This issue is best addressed outside of government, through individual sports leagues and athletic associations, including the Ohio High School Athletic Association, who can tailor policies to meet the needs of their member athletes and member institutions,” DeWine said.

An emergency clause added to the bill that would have made it go into effect as soon as it was signed by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine was defeated, meaning if it were to pass 90 days would have to pass instead.

The athletic directors at Ohio State, Dayton and Cincinnati all came out in favor allowing players to profit off their name, image and likeness when the bill was unveiled last month.

Earlier this week, Ohio State football coach Ryan Day told members of a House committee not passing the law with the emergency clause would have disastrous consequences on recruiting for schools in Ohio because multiple other states have already cleared the way for profit-making opportunities.

Those states with laws set to go in effect July 1 are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas according to a list compiled by

Bills in Illinois and Oregon have passed but are still awaiting a signature from the governor while Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed an executive order bringing NIL profits to his state Thursday.

While selling autographs or doing local endorsements are among activities most commonly thought of as potential money-makers for big-name athletes, there are many different avenues available.

Ohio State A.D. Gene Smith said he can see his school’s Olympic athletes (who typically are not on full-ride scholarships) make money by giving personal lessons.

“Many of them are leaving with debt, so their incentive would be even bigger,” Smith said.

UD A.D. Neil Sullivan suggested someone such as former Flyers basketball player Ryan Mikesell could profit from doing a camp in St. Henry, his hometown of less than 3,000 people in Mercer County.

“I think everyone wants to make make it about the one or two percent that Nike or Coke or Gatorade would be interested in, but for the vast majority of people, I believe it’ll be their college market and their hometown,” Sullivan said.

Former Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones, speaking to the same House committee as Day earlier this week, said this week he believe social media would be the quickest and most profitable avenue for players to make money. That is in part because of the academic and athletic time constraints many athletes are already under, a reality that often prevents them from taking a job while in school under the current rules.

“This bill can change the lives of current and future student-athletes and their families,” Jones said Tuesday. “I was lucky enough to have an opportunity to play in the National Football League, but I can tell you countless teammates who did not have the opportunity but were household names and college and star athletes. Under this bill, they could have benefited from their hard work on and off the field while at Ohio State. This bill would have been able to positively impact them and their families and their financial futures.”

(Those speaking about the law prior to Thursday did not comment about the amendment as it was not intruded until Thursday).

The debate about NIL comes as NCAA officials continue to discuss altering rules to allow athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness and federal lawmakers work on their own versions of such laws, though no consensus has been reached in either case.

Therefore, state bills such as Ohio’s have been passed to prevent colleges from enforcing the existing NCAA rules.

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