On March 14, 2021, the governor of New Mexico signed Senate Bill 94 (i.e., the “Student Athlete Endorsement Act”) into law permitting student-athletes enrolled in a “post-secondary educational institution” in New Mexico 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 Mexico becomes the sixth state to enact legislation that permits student-athletes to accept compensation for their names, images, and likenesses (following California, Colorado, Florida, Nebraska, and New Jersey). The law applies to contracts entered into on and after July 1, 2021.
In most respects, the New Mexico act is similar to predecessor acts enacted in California, Colorado, Florida, Nebraska, and New Jersey. In pertinent part, the act provides a “post-secondary educational institution” in New Mexico shall not:
- Uphold any rule, requirement, standard or other limitation that prevents a student athlete of that institution from fully participating in athletics without penalty: (a) for receiving food, shelter, medical expenses or insurance from a third party; or (b) for earning compensation from a third-party as a result of the use of the student athlete’s name, image, likeness or athletic reputation;
- Prohibit or discourage a student athlete from wearing footwear of the student athlete’s choice during official, mandatory team activities so long as the footwear does not have reflective fabric or lights or pose a health risk to a student-athlete;
- Prevent a student athlete from receiving third-party compensation for using the student athlete’s name, image, likeness or athletic reputation when the student athlete is not engaged in official, mandatory team activities; or
- Arrange third-party compensation for the use of a student athlete’s name, image, likeness or athletic reputation or use such deals as inducements to recruit prospective student athletes.
In turn, student-athletes are required to or prohibited from doing the following:
- A third-party shall not offer a student-athlete a contract to provide compensation to the student-athlete for use of the student athlete’s name, image, likeness or athletic reputation that requires a student athlete to advertise for the sponsor in person during official, mandatory team activities without the approval of the student athlete’s post-secondary educational institution.
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