NIL and NFTs Collide: LSU’s Expeditious Embrace

by Marina M. Speligene

Introduction

Name, image, and likeness (NIL) rights and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are two separate but related topics that have attracted a great deal of attention in the last year, especially in the world of collegiate and professional athletics. Collegiate sports first witnessed the collision of these ostensibly distinct concepts following a June 30, 2021, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) decision that opened the door for student-athletes to take advantage of name, image, and likeness opportunities—business ventures that would have previously stripped them of their NCAA eligibility.[1] The NCAA’s new policy instructs that all NIL activity be consistent with the law of the state where the college is located or, in the absence or interim of operative state law, the school’s NIL policy.[2] As of today, more than half of states have enacted NIL laws, Louisiana included.[3]

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“Let Me Get This Right . . . I’ll Be Paid Just Because I Play for LSU?” The Potential Issues of Louisiana’s Name, Image, or Likeness Legislation

by Austin Pottorff

Introduction

In 2019, LSU football experienced an unprecedented national championship season, led by star quarterback Joe Burrow.[1] Burrow became a college football icon, winning numerous awards,[2] breaking multiple records,[3] and leading LSU to a historic, undefeated season.[4] Burrow’s accolades made his name a very valuable brand across not only Louisiana, but the entire United States. In fact, sports economist David Berri determined that Burrow’s worth to LSU was over $3.8 million during the 2019 season alone.[5] Despite Burrow’s worth to LSU, he was unable to profit off of his fame and recognition while he was a student-athlete. This outcome was a result of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) longstanding policy of forbidding collegiate athletes from profiting off their name, image, or likeness (NIL).[6]

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Kindergarten: The Foundation of Education

by Caroline Campagna

Introduction

Louisiana has steadily ranked nearly last in state-education-achievement rankings for childhood education, which includes kindergarten through twelfth grade.[1] In fact, Louisiana public schools are currently ranked 50th in the countryhigh school graduation rate among low-income students, median SAT and ACT scores, and math and reading scores.[2] Alarmingly only about half of kindergarten through third grade students in Louisiana are reading at their grade level.[3] Moreover, around 160,000 Louisiana students in kindergarten through fifth grade cannot read.[4] Because of these concerning statistics, Louisiana legislators are making education a priority within the state.[5] Lawmakers are investing in education by focusing specifically on kindergarten education.[6]

Until the 2022–2023 school year, children in Louisiana were able to avoid kindergarten altogether because the prior law did not require parents to send their children to school until the age of seven.[7] However, kindergarten may no longer be evaded due to the passage of Senate Bill 10.[8] Pursuant to this bill, all children who have reached the age of five will be required to attend kindergarten beginning in the 2022-2023 school year.[9] The bill unanimously passed in the Senate with a vote of 38–0, while the House of Representatives backed the bill with a vote of 70–32.[10] Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards supported the bill as part of his legislative package, and on June 16, 2021, he signed Act 386, enacting Senate Bill 10 into law.[11]

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A Step Towards Criminal Justice Reform: Act 122

by Brennan O’Keefe

Introduction

The United States national incarceration rates are at an all-time low over the past 20 years; yet, the United States still has the highest incarceration rate in the world.[1] Roughly 25% of the world’s total prison population is held in the United States—approximately 2.2 million prisoners.[2] Louisiana, crowned “America’s prison capital,” leads the country in terms of imprisonment, with 1,094 people in prison per 100,000 people when accounting for prisons, jails, immigration detention, and juvenile justice facilities.[3] This staggering statistic extrapolates to almost 50,000 people imprisoned in Louisiana.[4]

It is without question that high incarceration rates strain government spending. According to the VERA Institute of Justice, the average cost of detaining an inmate in Louisiana was $17,486 per year in 2012.[5] In 2010, the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections spent $698 million, which was 12.9% more than the state-allotted budget.[6] John Bel Edward’s gubernational win appeared to be a step toward reducing Louisiana’s status as America’s prison capital. In 2017, Edwards signed the most comprehensive criminal justice reform in Louisiana’s history.[7] The bipartisan package consisted of ten bills focused on non-violent, non-sex offenders and was designed to drive less serious offenders away from prison, strengthen imprisonment alternatives, reduce prison terms, and remove barriers to successful community re-entry.[8] In furtherance of his commitment to criminal justice reform, Governor Edwards signed Act 122—House Bill 145—into law in June 2021. This act could reduce parole times for nearly 3,000 lifers, habitual criminals, and old-timers.[9] Continue reading

A Constitutional Development? The Electric Chair as a Default Execution Method

by Chaz Morgan

Introduction

On May 14, 2021, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed Act 43, a law setting electrocution as the default method of execution in South Carolina.[1] The act also allows inmates to alternatively select a firing squad or lethal injection—if the requisite drugs are available—as a means of execution in lieu of the electric chair.[2] Under South Carolina’s previous law, lethal injection was the default method of execution if inmates did not choose the electric chair.[3] However, the companies that produce the drugs necessary for lethal injection began refusing to sell the drugs to South Carolina to subvert its attempts to carry out death sentences.[4] Simultaneously, inmates refused to choose the electric chair, thereby preventing the state from carrying out its sentences.[5]

Act 43’s use of the electric chair as the default method of execution and the addition of the firing squad—a legal execution method in several other states—as an alternative method have raised questions as to whether these methods are cruel and unusual punishment under the United States Constitution’s Eighth Amendment.[6] If they are cruel and unusual, then these methods are prohibited forms of execution.[7] If they are not cruel and unusual, then the new law is constitutional.[8] Continue reading