JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri lawmakers approved a bill Tuesday that could open the door for high school recruits to earn endorsements, even before they begin their journeys in college athletics.

The Missouri House approved HB 417 on Tuesday afternoon, though with a key amendment that allows high school students to land endorsements under certain conditions. It also allows college coaches to get more involved with helping enrolled athletes profit off their name, image and likeness.

Mizzou Football coach Eli Drinkwitz shared a photo from the Missouri Capitol on Tuesday, suggesting that the legislation would be a “game changer.” The NCAA first allowed college athletes around the United States, including Missouri, to legally earn money from their name, image and likeness in 2021. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Mike Henderson (R-Bonne Terre) looks to expand upon that.

The amendment to HB 417 would allow high school athletes planning to play in college to consider the following possibilities:

  • A high school athlete could earn compensation from name, image or likeness after signing a letter of intent or agreement to enroll in a Missouri post-secondary institution (like Mizzou or Missouri State) and commit to a sport.
  • A high school athlete has the right to discuss compensation and possible endorsement deals before signing an athletic letter of intent when discussing enrollment about a Missouri-based university.
  • Discussing possible compensation or endorsement deals for college wouldn’t violate ant rights for the student-athletes to keep participating in high school until they graduate.

Another part of that amendment would enable coaches, like Drinkwitz, to represent athletes trying to earn endorsement deals while in school. The same amendment to the bill states…

“A postsecondary educational institution or any officer, director, or employee of such institution, including but not limited to a coach, member of the coaching staff, or any individual associated with the institution’s athletic department, shall have the right to identify, create, facilitate, negotiate, support, enable, or otherwise assist with opportunities for a student athlete to earn compensation from a third party.”

The bill says this would also include deals through an institutional marketing associate, for the use of the student athlete’s name, image, or likeness rights. If approved, the bill would also allow coaches or representatives to be present for any meetings in which endorsement deals could be discussed.

The bill passed with a 113-41 vote Tuesday in the Missouri House and heads to Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s office for review.