COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The future of Ohio’s Name, Image and Likeness bill is in question after a last-minute amendment banning transgender women from competing in women’s sports.
“We had a bill that had broad bipartisan support, a bill that was going to do a lot of good for college athletes all over the state, that was destroyed by a last-minute amendment,” said Rep. Brigid Kelly, (D) Cincinnati.
Senate Bill 187 allows college athletes to profit off their name, image, and likeness. Earlier in the week it had bipartisan support, with Ohio State officials like head football coach Ryan Day and athletic director Gene Smith testifying in support of the bill.
While attempting to pass the House of Representatives, the bill was amended by Representative Jena Powell, to include a ban on transgender women competing in women sports.
“If we don’t pass save women sports with NIL, what it’s telling Ohioans is we want more male athletes to make money through athletics, but we don’t even have the ability to preserve the integrity of women sports,” said Rep. Jena Powell, (R) Arcanum.
On Friday, dozens of people protested outside the Statehouse. They say this is an attack on trans-children.
“Even though I wasn’t the most athletic I signed up for as many sports as my parents would let me just to stay out of the house,” said Angel, who spoke at the rally sharing his story.
The Ohio Senate says they believe the issue of transgender athletes needs more time to consider and will not be taking up Senate Bill 187.
Governor Mike DeWine said in a statement: “This issue is best addressed outside of government, through individual sports leagues and athletic associations, including the Ohio High School Athletic Association, who can tailor policies to meet the needs of their member athletes and member institutions.”
Now, the future of the NIL bill is in flux as lawmakers try to find a new place for the language that can be passed by July 1.
“At the end of the day if that bill is not going to get done, I am pursuing a variety of options,” said State Sen. Niraj Antani, (R) Miamisburg.