NIL bill will help Tigers continue to compete at elite level

Matt Connollyabout 2 months
Aritcle written by:Matt ConnollyMatt Connolly

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CLEMSON — College football is changing quickly, and Clemson and the state of South Carolina are ready to adapt.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster traveled to Clemson on Monday for a ceremonial signing of a Name, Image and Likeness Bill, which was officially signed back in May.

McMaster was joined at the ceremonial signing by Clemson Athletics Director Dan Radakovich, University of South Carolina Deputy Athletics Direct Chance Miller, S.C. State football coach Buddy Pough and several Clemson student-athletes, including football players K.J. Henry, Matt Bockhorst and Darien Rencher.

The bill is not slated to go into effect until July 1 of 2022, but that could change if the NCAA makes rule changes later this summer.

“The bill that was passed here is very pro student-athlete, which is important. It gives an educational component to it. It gives the opportunity for the student-athletes to take their name, image and likeness and monetize it in a really positive way,” Radakovich said. “So as we await what happens from the NCAA or the federal government, we really needed to make sure that we had our own bill that would help our student-athletes, so that really is what was done here. We’re just excited about being one of the 18 or 19 states that have enacted one of these bills.”

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South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster takes part in a ceremonial NIL Bill signing on Monday. (Matt Connolly/ClemsonSports.com)

There was plenty of debate about the bill among legislators before it was officially signed last month, but ultimately it was agreed upon that in order for Clemson, South Carolina and other schools in the state to not be at a competitive disadvantage, a NIL bill needed to be passed.

Rencher, who is entering his sixth year in Clemson’s program, is hoping the NCAA will make changes in time for him to benefit this season.

The super senior running back was honored as the Disney Spirit Award winner in 2020. The award is presented annually to college football’s most inspirational player, coach, team or figure.

“We’re not one of the states that hasn’t done anything yet, which is cool to see. And apparently at the same time the NCAA might be able to veto the whole thing, which I’m praying for it, because that would be wonderful to make a uniformed decision,” Rencher said. “[That] would be the hope for me, selfishly, because I’ve got one more year here and I’m definitely trying to maximize it. But at the same time I think the guys coming behind me, it’s going to be great for them to utilize it.”

Henry added that his main focus right now is football, but he is also monitoring the latest NIL happenings and is thankful that athletes will soon be able to be compensated through NIL.

“I’ve been football focused, so as much as I’m ready and excited for this to go through, it’s hard to give too much importance to the things that you’re unsure of,” Henry said. “So with that being said, how far we’ve come in this area has been great, but the NCAA’s a part of it, too. Hopefully this will put a little pressure on them and we can get it going in the right direction.”