Colorado, South Carolina, Florida and Pennsylvania Introducing Legislation That Would Allow College Athletes to Accept Endorsement Money

By Ken Reed

Earlier this week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill that allows college athletes to profit off their names and likenesses.

“Other college students with a talent, whether it be literature, music, or technological innovation, can monetize their skill and hard work,” said Newsom.

“Student athletes, however, are prohibited from being compensated while their respective colleges and universities make millions, often at great risk to athletes’ health, academics and professional careers.”

Under the California law, athletes won’t be paid salaries directly from the athletic department. Any income they earn will come from outside sources (endorsements, autograph shows, etc.) Basically, it’s the Olympic model, which allows Olympic athletes to receive endorsement money.

Legislators in several other states are now introducing bills similar to California’s.

Shortly after the California bill became law, Colorado Republican state Sen. Owen Hill and Democratic state Sen. Jeff Bridges announced they will be introducing a similar bill next session. The Colorado bill will allow athletes to accept endorsement deals and sign with agents.

Hill called the fact athletes are presently forbidden from profiting from their athletic talents “garbage, trash.”

Colorado House majority leader Alec Garnett, a supporter of the bill, said:

“The NCAA is behind the times in recognizing where the public’s at, where these athletes are at, and where these institutions should be at.”

Florida Democratic House leader Kionne L. McGhee introduced a bill similar to California’s on Monday. On Tuesday, Pennsylvania Reps. Dan Miller and Ed Gainey, both Democrats, announced plans to introduce a measure called “Fair Pay to Play Act,” which is based on the California bill of the same name.

“I think it’s time,” said Golden State Warriors player Glenn Robinson III, who played his college basketball at Michigan. “A lot of people are waking up and starting to see how much money that these universities are making off of players,” he added. “Where I went to school, a lot of players couldn’t afford lunch.”

UCLA football coach, Chip Kelly, supports the law, saying it’s “the right thing to do.” He described the measure as “progress.”

“It doesn’t cost the universities, it doesn’t cost the NCAA,” said Kelly.

As expected, the NCAA reacted to the news that California’s bill had become law by claiming that the law will destroy the distinction between college and professional sports and seriously threaten the entire college sports system.

After signing the California bill into law, Newsom said it was “a big move to expose the farce and to challenge a system that is outsized in its capacity to push back.”

The farce of which Newsom speaks is the NCAA and its antiquated amateur rules. There might be a few better words to describe the NCAA’s unjust system, but farce will certainly do.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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