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Rep. John Stefanski, R-Crowley, was the House sponsor of a bill that will allow college athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness.

Louisiana will be the 23rd state to allow college athletes to profit from their name and image under a bill that will be signed Thursday by Gov. John Bel Edwards, officials said Wednesday.

Sen. Patrick Connick, R-Marrero, sponsor of the measure, said he has been in contact with the governor's office ahead of an expected signing Thursday. "I expect him to sign the bill and I am looking forward to him signing the bill," Connick said.

The measure, which was backed by LSU leaders and others, breezed through the Legislature.

It won final House approval 88-7 and passed the Senate 35-0.

The policy is part of a seismic shift going on in college sports, including a ruling earlier this month by the U.S. Supreme Court that said the NCAA cannot limits benefits schools can provide if they are linked to education.

The NCAA is also reportedly close to finalizing a temporary plan to allow athletes to be compensated for their name and image.

Backers of the bill said the new rules are essential for LSU and other schools to compete nationally in the suddenly booming market of high-profile athletes cashing in on their status. Without the change, they said, Louisiana schools would be at a disadvantage in recruiting compared to schools in states that allow athletes to profit from their image.

Connick said the measure goes well beyond athletes at LSU.

"It is a sense of fairness," he said on why the legislation is needed. "That is the main point. These athletes have talent on and off the field. We need to allow them to use them."

The 22 states that have passed the laws have effective dates that range from Thursday to the 2024 school year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Louisiana, whose law would be in effect Thursday, also joins six others states that are in the early wave of allowing athletes to profit from their names, including four other schools in the Southeastern Conference. Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Mississippi all have similar laws on the books that take effect Thursday as well as Texas and New Mexico, the NCSL says. In three other states similar bills are awaiting the signature of their governors.

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Congress may also step in and pass a federal law aimed at ensuring a level playing field among schools.

The legislation, Senate Bill 60, said while intercollegiate athletics offers students significant educational opportunities taking part "should not infringe upon an intercollegiate athlete's ability to earn compensation for the athlete's name, image or likeness."

It says schools cannot block student-athletes from profiting from their names and them doing so will not affect their athletic scholarships.

While specific rules are left up to individual schools, the law spells out in broad terms what is and is not allowed.

Athletes would be banned from entering into agreements for tobacco, alcohol, illegal substances or any form of gambling.

They would also be prohibited from using school logos, colors  and uniforms without the permission of the school.

The University of Louisiana System, which includes UNO, Southeastern Louisiana and UL, approved its own name, image and likeness policy last week in anticipation that Edwards would sign the bill.

Those rules mirror the state law but also require that mandatory financial literacy workshops for athletes include training on how they can get permission to use school logos and how to disclose agreements with their agent.

"We are proud to be among the first entities in the U.S. to adopt an NIL policy to benefit our student athletes,” UL System president Jim Henderson said in a statement.

NIL stands for "name, image and likeness."

Email Will Sentell at wsentell@theadvocate.com.