Closed Door: Payments to college athletes in Utah would be off-limits to the public under HB202

The Utah Transparency Project will offer real-time assessments of legislation that could either increase or decrease public access to government records and meetings.

Utah Transparency Project "Locked Down" symbol for legislation that reduces public access to government.

House Bill 202 — Student Athlete Amendments (Rep. Jordan Teuscher, R-South Jordan).

This bill seeks to provide a framework for what endorsement deals a college athlete could sign for the use of his or her “name, image and likeness” — or NIL. It would prohibit endorsements of things like tobacco, alcohol, gambling, drugs, strip clubs or firearms “that the student athlete cannot legally purchase.”

Students would have to have their contracts approved by the school, but the bill takes those contracts and any correspondence about them and makes them exempt from Utah’s open-records act. It would make it impossible to learn how the schools are regulating NILs, how they stack up between male and female athletes, who might ultimately be paying the players, and other information.

Given that the NIL market is rapidly evolving and these are publicly supported athletics programs, it is in the public’s interest to have insight into how they’re run, so HB202 receives a “Closed Door” from the Utah Transparency Project.