POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Bill to block public access to NIL contracts advances in Utah Legislature

Feb 9, 2024, 1:00 PM | Updated: Feb 15, 2024, 9:48 am

NIL contracts hearing...

Rep. Jordan D. Teuscher, R-South Jordan, speaks to his bill during a House Education Committee hearing on HB202, Student Athlete Amendments, at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024. (Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

(Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

Live at 11:05 a.m.: New bill addresses Name, Image and Likeness contracts for student athletes

 

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah House committee has voted to advance a bill that would keep Utah college athletes’ name, image and likeness contracts, or NIL contracts, out of the public eye.

HB202 sponsor, Rep. Jordan Teuscher, R-South Jordan, presented the legislation to the House Education Committee on Thursday.

Teuscher argued that NIL contracts made between private businesses and athletes playing for Utah’s colleges and universities should remain private.

Why? Because they don’t involve government entities, like many other publicly-viewable documents.

“We don’t require the disclosure of other types of private contracts like this,” Teuscher said. “We would be the only state in the nation that would require the disclosure of these types of agreements. And it would put our athletes and universities very much at a disadvantage.”

The bill would also prohibit Utah’s college athletes from entering into NIL agreements that promote things like tobacco, alcohol, gambling and sexually oriented businesses.

Opponents of the legislation have expressed worry about not being able to track or monitor how much student athletes make and who’s paying them.

Consequently, not having public access to the contracts also means there would be no way to track any troubling trends. For example, if there’s a pay disparity between male and female athletes.

The battle to view these contracts has been going on for several months.

The Deseret News reported it was denied access to NIL agreements late last year.

It appealed to the State Records Committee who voted unanimously to make the contracts not exempt from Utah’s open records laws. Several schools appealed that decision and are still in ongoing litigation with the Deseret News.

This legislation would outweigh that ruling, keeping NIL deals exempt from Utah’s GRAMA laws.

The committee voted Thursday to pass the bill. It now heads to the full House.

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Bill to block public access to NIL contracts advances in Utah Legislature