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Tennessee college athlete NIL bill headed to full House

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(The Center Square) – A bill to change Tennessee’s rules for college athlete’s name, image and likeness passed its final committee hurdle before heading to the full House.

Senate Bill 0709 passed the Senate unanimously and will be taken up by the full House as soon as next week.

The bill would put state law on NIL rules in line with a lawsuit brought against the National Collegiate Athletic Association by the Tennessee Attorney General.

“While everyone is yearning for there to be a Congressional model that takes this out of our hands, but until Congress does its job then we need to stand in the gap and take care of our athletes the way that we see fit,” said Kevin Vaughan, R-Collierville.

Vaughan said the bill also prevents athletes from suing coaches over playing time and impeding their potential earning power due to coaching decisions.

Rep. Antonio Parkinson, D-Memphis, said he supported the bill but with a chip on his shoulder after the House Education Administration had killed an NIL bill that he had proposed after the O’Bannon v. NCAA decision to end the ban on NCAA student-athlete NIL compensation.

Rep. Sam McKenzie, D-Knoxville, said he believes the state should lead on NIL innovation rather than following along after the Tennessee AG’s lawsuit with updates.

McKenzie’s twin older brothers Raleigh and Reggie McKenzie played football at the University of Tennessee and then in the National Football League. Reggie McKenzie is now an executive for the Miami Dolphins after being the Oakland Raiders’ General Manager.

If the full House passes the bill, the bill would head to Gov. Bill Lee for his signature.

The bill comes after Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti’s office received a preliminary injunction against the NCAA and its NIL rules in February on claims that the NCAA rules limitations violate federal antitrust law by limiting athlete compensation.

U.S. District Judge Clifton L. Corker also restricted the NCAA from enforcing its rules of restitution related to NIL activities until a final ruling.