In late July 2020, the governor of Nebraska signed Legislative Bill 646 (i.e., the Nebraska Fair Pay to Play Act”) into law permitting student-athletes enrolled in an institution of higher education in Nebraska to be paid for the use of their names, images, and likenesses, to hire representatives to represent student-athletes’ interests, and declaring that a student-athlete may not be compelled to forfeit his/her rights in order to participate in intercollegiate athletics. Nebraska becomes the fourth state to enact legislation that permits student-athletes to accept compensation for their names, images, and likenesses (following California, Colorado, and Florida). The law takes effect on July 1, 2023.
In most respects, the Nebraska act is similar to predecessor acts enacted in California, Colorado, and Florida. In pertinent part, the act provides as follows:
In turn, student-athletes are required to or prohibited from do the following:
Student-athletes may seek and obtain representation for the purposes of marketing his/her name, image, and likeness and the use of legal services associated therewith. Agency agreements must contain the following:
WARNING TO STUDENT-ATHLETE
(1) IF YOU ENTER INTO NEGOTIATIONS FOR, OR SIGN, A PROFESSIONAL SPORTS-SERVICES CONTRACT, YOU MAY LOSE YOUR ELIGIBILITY TO COMPETE AS A STUDENT-ATHLETE IN YOUR SPORT;
(2) IF YOU HAVE AN ATHLETIC DIRECTOR, WITHIN 72 HOURS AFTER ENTERING INTO THIS CONTRACT, BOTH YOU AND YOUR ATHLETE AGENT MUST NOTIFY YOUR ATHLETIC DIRECTOR; AND
(3) YOU MAY CANCEL THIS CONTRACT WITHIN 14 DAYS AFTER SIGNING IT.
A student-athlete or postsecondary institution aggrieved by a violation of the act may bring a civil action against the postsecondary institution or collegiate athletic association committing such violation. A prevailing plaintiff may recover actual damages, equitable or declaratory relief, and reasonable attorney’s fees and other litigation costs. Such actions must be brought within one (1) year of accrual. A public postsecondary institution may be sued upon claims arising under the act only to the extent allowed by the State Tort Claims Act, the State Contract Claims Act, or the State Miscellaneous Claims Act.