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SC college athletes starting to cash in on name, image, and likeness

Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 7:21 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - South Carolina student-athletes are already seizing the opportunity to benefit from their name, image and likeness after the state attorney general certified that the NCAA’s decision can apply to students in the Palmetto State.

In a letter to Gov. Henry McMaster on Thursday, Attorney General Alan Wilson certified the policy the NCAA announced Wednesday night was in compliance with the bill passed by the General Assembly this year.

“The legislation ensures fairness to our athletes, which is a very good thing,” Wilson said in a statement. “The law should immediately go into effect. This law provides guardrails to protect student-athletes so they can benefit financially without being taken advantage of.”

RELATED | NCAA clears way for athlete compensation

Athletes are already announcing deals and saying they are interested in opportunities.

Two University of South Carolina women’s basketball players posted on Twitter that they are now on Cameo, an app that allows people to pay for personalized messages from public figures.

“It’s huge,” said UofSC basketball sophomore Laeticia Amhere. “It’s something that has been brewing for many years for athletes. It’s obviously monumental.”

Former college players also say this is a great move for student-athletes.

“You also need to benefit from your likeness because other people are,” said former college and professional basketball player Terry Dozier.

Dozier said this law would have been a game-changer for him and his twin brother when they first came to UofSC.

“We were impoverished. We were in a single-parent home in the inner city of Baltimore and the struggle was real,” Dozier said. “Then we came south, 500 and some odd miles away from home for the first time, and we didn’t have anything. We couldn’t work or anything like that.”

Other former athletes predict that in this day and age of multiple social media apps and lots of opportunities to get noticed, it may not only be the stars who get deals.

“There’s going to be some good players making money, some funny folks, some that are easy on the eyes, there’s going to be all sorts of factors that come in,” former UofSC defensive lineman Preston Thorne said. “It’s like the market at large and now some athletes can participate in it.”

Opponents of the NCAA’s decision to remove the name, image, and likeness rules for athletes fear students will be distracted from their studies or it will divide teams based on who is making money and who isn’t.

“Locker rooms are full of all kinds of different people with all different kinds of money and backgrounds,” Thorne said. “But as long as they are working towards the same mission as a team, I don’t think how much money somebody is making will be a problem.”

There are exceptions to what a student-athlete can promote and when. NCAA athletes are not allowed to promote tobacco, drugs, alcohol, or anything related to gambling and they are not allowed to appear in their uniform or with their school logos.

Policies and guidelines for Gamecock student-athletes to participate in NIL activities can be found at GamecocksOnline.com/NIL.

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