On September 14, 2020, the governor of New Jersey signed Bill NJ S971 (i.e., the “New Jersey Fair Play Act”) into law permitting student-athletes enrolled in an institution of higher education in New Jersey 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. New Jersey becomes the fifth state to enact legislation that permits student-athletes to accept compensation for their names, images, and likenesses (following California, Colorado, Florida, and Nebraska). The law takes effect immediately, but shall be applicable “the fifth academic year following the date of enactment.”
In most respects, the New Jersey act is similar to predecessor acts enacted in California, Colorado, Florida, and Nebraska. In pertinent part, the act provides a four-year institution of higher education in New Jersey shall not:
- Uphold any rule, requirement, standard, or other limitation that prevents a student of that institution participating in intercollegiate athletics from earning compensation as a result of the use of the student’s name, image, or likeness.
- Earning compensation from the use of a student’s name, image, or likeness shall not affect the student’s institutional scholarship eligibility. An institutional scholarship shall not be considered compensation for the purposes of this act and a scholarship shall not be revoked as a result of a student earning compensation or obtaining professional representation;
- Provide a prospective student-athlete with compensation in relation to the student-athlete’s name, image, or likeness; or
- Prevent a student participating in intercollegiate athletics from obtaining professional representation in relation to contracts or legal matters including, but not limited to, representation provided by athlete agents or legal representation provided by attorneys.
In turn, student-athletes are required to or prohibited from do the following:
- A student participating in intercollegiate athletics shall be prohibited from earning compensation as a result of the use of the student’s name, image, or likeness in connection with any person, company, or organization related to or associated with the development, production, distribution, wholesaling, or retailing of: adult entertainment products and services; alcohol products; casinos and gambling, including sports betting, the lottery, and betting in connection with video games, on-line games, and mobile devices; tobacco and electronic smoking products and devices; prescription pharmaceuticals; a controlled dangerous substance; and weapons, including firearms and ammunition. Earning compensation from the use of a student’s name, image, or likeness in connection with products and services listed pursuant to this subsection shall result in the revocation of the student’s institutional scholarship eligibility. An institutional team contract shall not prevent a student-athlete from using the athlete’s name, image, or likeness for a commercial purpose when the athlete is not engaged in official team activities. An institutional team contract shall allow the institution, athletic association, conference, or other group or organization with authority over intercollegiate athletics to use the athlete’s name, image, or likeness for advertising and marketing purposes without additional compensation paid to the student-athlete.
- A student-athlete who enters into a contract providing compensation to the student-athlete for use of his name, image, or likeness shall disclose the contract to an official of the four-year institution of higher education, to be designated by the institution.
- A student-athlete shall not enter into a contract providing compensation to the student-athlete for use of his name, image, or likeness if a provision of the contract: (1) conflicts with a provision of the student-athlete’s team contract; or (2) conflicts with the provisions of limitations in certain areas as set forth above.
Like Florida, the New Jersey act requires student-athletes obtaining legal representation are required to use lawyers licensed by the State of New Jersey. Athlete agents are required to comply with the terms of the Sports Agent Responsibility and Trust Act (i.e., SPARTA), federal legislation adopted to regulate athlete agents.
For any questions, feel free to contact Christian Dennie at firstname.lastname@example.org.