Youngkin signs law undercutting NCAA by letting colleges pay athletes directly

Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA) has signed a law that will bring college athletes closer to becoming de facto employees of the universities where they attend.

The Virginia legislation will grant colleges the chance to pay athletes directly through name, image, and likeness deals, undercutting the NCAA’s rule on colleges paying athletes directly via NIL guidelines. Normally, NIL deals are between athletes and local/national businesses, though many universities have NIL “collectives” that help athletes find opportunities.

Collectives straddle the line of whether the colleges pay the athletes directly, though colleges act more like agents in those deals. However, Youngkin’s law presents a unique opportunity for athletes at major schools, such as the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and James Madison, to cut out middlemen between universities and athletes.

“If this law gets us closer to a federal or a national
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