At OH&F, we love sports. We understand the importance of living your life in the limelight, and we know how challenging it can be to navigate the legalities of being a professional athlete, a coach, or an owner. You have enough to worry about, let us handle the legal side of things.
We believe that your name, image, and likeness (“NIL”) are worth protecting. That’s why we’ve built a practice at OH&F devoted to helping athletes and entertainers navigate the complicated legal waters of the sports world. We understand how important it is to protect your hard-earned reputation, and we’re here to help you do just that.
Under the Nebraska’s Fair Pay to Play Act, college athletes at Nebraska schools are allowed to earn money from their name, image, and likeness rights, or athletic reputation. The law allows athletes to sign with a licensed agent in the state of Nebraska to represent and solicit deals on their behalf, while also protecting them from retaliation for receiving compensation. If a postsecondary institution or athletic association punishes a student-athlete for pursuing compensation for their name, image, and likeness rights, a student may seek damages and/or injunctive relief.
The Nebraska Fair Pay to Play Act strongly favors the rights and freedoms of student-athletes regarding NIL compensation. In relevant part, the Nebraska Fair Pay to Play Act restricts postsecondary institutions from promulgating “any rule, requirement, standard, or limitation” preventing student-athletes rights, privileges, or participation in intercollegiate contests due to acquisition or reputation created by a NIL opportunity. The Nebraska Fair Pay to Play Act further prohibits Nebraska-based collegiate athletic associations from penalizing or preventing student-athletes “from fully participating in an intercollegiate sport because such student-athlete earns compensation for the use of” NIL rights.
However, the Act imposes some limitations on Nebraska student-athletes benefitting from certain NIL opportunities. For example, student-athletes are precluded from contracting with sponsors for the use of the student-athletes NIL if the contract “requires such student-athlete to display such sponsor’s apparel or to otherwise advertise for the sponsor during official team activities and compliance with such contract requirement would conflict with a team contract.” The Act also includes a mandatory disclosure requirement, which obligates a student-athlete receiving compensation based on the use of their NIL to “disclose such contract to an official of the postsecondary institution for which such student-athlete participates in an intercollegiate sport.”