By Ken Reed

Colorado’s House of Representatives voted 55-9 this week to allow college athletes the right to earn income from their names, images, and likenesses (NILs). The bill was unanimously approved by the Colorado Senate last month. Governor Jared Polis is expected to sign the bill into law soon.

“This bill sends a message to colleges across the country: student athletes have the right to share in the wealth that their presences bring into institutions of higher education,” said Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, one of the bill’s sponsors. “Student athletes should be able to profit off the brand they work so hard to create and cultivate.”

Herod said the Colorado law doesn’t allow colleges to pay athletes directly, but would allow athletes to make money from “social media, a local pizza shop and things like that.”

The Colorado bill follows a similar law passed last year in California. Bills similar to California’s and Colorado’s are pending in 20+ states, including Florida, Illinois and New York.

In response to the pressure applied by these states, the NCAA said it will work on rules that allow athletes to profit from their NILs. Given the organization’s pushback on this issue for decades, we’ll see if anything significant — and fair to college athletes — comes out of their discussions on this issue.

Don’t hold your breath folks.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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