Arkansas House bill would allow name, image, likeness law to benefit some high school athletes

FILE — The state Capitol is shown in this undated file photo.

Arkansas House Speaker Matthew Shepherd filed a bill Thursday to expand the state’s law that allows college athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness to include some high school students.

The state’s current name, image and likeness law applies only to students who are enrolled in a college or university. House Bill 1649 would expand the law to include high students who have signed a national letter of intent, or a similar agreement, or have been accepted to a college or university.

Previously the NCAA had barred college athletes from profiting of their name, image and likeness but ended the policy in June 2021.

By allowing some high school athletes to enter into name, image and likeness deals, Shepherd said the bill is aimed at keeping the state’s universities competitive in the highly competitive world of recruiting.

“From my perspective, I’d rather [prefer] that we didn’t have to go down this road, but the fact of the matter is that’s the environment in which we live, that’s the world in which we live,” Shepherd told reporters during a news conference after the House adjourned Thursday. “So it’s important that our laws are keeping up with what’s going on across the country.”