Missouri high school athletes could start banking on endorsement deals as soon as they sign up to play for a Missouri college or university. The state Legislature has passed a bill that would update Missouri’s NIL, or name, image, and likeness law.

State Rep. Kurtis Gregory, a former Mizzou football player, is championing the item.

“When NIL was first up and in its infancy and so we started bringing it on and what we’re doing this year is really modernizing the program and really puts us to the top as far as NIL legislation across the country. And I want to make certain that our Missouri colleges and university have every tool in their tool belt to go out and recruit the nation’s best and brightest,” said Gregory, a Republican from Marshall.

The plan would also let coaches and school employees negotiate endorsement deals for college athletes.

“On teams, you talk about, you know, you’re only as good as your weakest link and legislation like this makes everyone down here in the legislature be part of the team. I want to make sure that we can do our part to ensure that our colleges and universities can be the best that they can,” said Gregory.

The item is included in legislation that aims to help build and retain a skilled workforce in Missouri. The proposal would reimburse employers who help their workers earn short-term certificates or credentials for high-need jobs.

House Speaker Pro Tem Mike Henderson, R-Desloge, is sponsoring the bill.

“It gives businesses a chance to grow their own workers,” he said. “A lot of businesses nowadays have workers they’re having trouble finding the workers they need and if they do find a worker, they may not have the skills they would really like but they come to work every day, they’re a good cultural fit, everybody seems to think they fit with the company.”

The measure goes to Gov. Mike Parson for a decision.

To review House Bill 417, click here.

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