TRENTON, NJ - Legislation championed by Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly (D-Paterson) that will allow college athletes to earn compensation for use of their name, image or likeness was signed into law Monday by Governor Phil Murphy.

The new law (A-2106), known as the “New Jersey Fair Play Act,” received final legislative approval in July, passing the full Assembly 56-16-2, and full Senate 30-9. New Jersey becomes the fifth state in the nation to pass such a measure. 

Since California approved its legislation recently, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced it would adopt a policy allowing college athletes to benefit from their name, image and likeness within the two years. However, critics of the plan say it lacks specifics and may be too restrictive on athletes.

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Under the new law, a four-year institution of higher education is prohibited from upholding any rule, requirement, standard or other limitation that prevents college athletes from earning compensation from their name, image or likeness. Earning such compensation will not affect the student’s scholarship eligibility.

“As a high school football coach, I see firsthand the amount of talent, drive and dedication of student athletes,” said Wimberly. “Once they enter the world of college athletics, that same talent will be nurtured: but it will also be used to earn profit. For all of their hard work, these students deserve a piece of the pie. It should also be allowable for them to be fairly compensated.”

A student athlete under the law will not be allowed to earn compensation in connection with certain products, including adult entertainment, alcohol, casinos, gambling, sports betting, the lottery, video and online game betting, tobacco and electronic smoking products, prescription pharmaceuticals, controlled dangerous substances, and weapons such as firearms and ammunition.

Additionally, a student athlete who enters a contract to earn compensation will be required to disclose the contract to a college official.

The law takes effect immediately and will be applicable in five years.

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