Two former college athletes say they will file bipartisan legislation that would allow student-athletes to receive compensation for the use of their name, image and likeness.
Reps. Brandt Iden, R-Oshtemo, and Joe Tate, D-Detroit, announced the proposal that would override the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) rules for amateur athletes.
Iden told The Center Square that legislation would protect student-athletes.
“I believe this brings fairness and equity to students and gives them the opportunity to be treated equally, like all other students on campus,” Iden said. “If they have a skill set and they want to utilize that, then they should be able to be paid for doing so.”
Iden said the use of players’ names and likenesses rack up hundreds of millions of dollars in profits for organizations, but not for cash-strapped college student-athletes.
The NCAA voted Oct. 29 to set rules in place by January 2021 to allow student-athletes to be compensated for the use of their name, image and likeness.
"We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes," NCAA Board Chair Michael V. Drake said in a statement. "Additional flexibility in this area can and must continue to support college sports as a part of higher education. This modernization for the future is a natural extension of the numerous steps NCAA members have taken in recent years to improve support for student-athletes, including full cost of attendance and guaranteed scholarships."
Iden's and Tate’s not-yet-introduced proposals would allow compensation starting in July 2020, three years earlier than similar legislation in California.
Iden said the pair want to allow compensation for student-athletes “as soon as possible.”
“We’re not going to punt on this issue. We’re going to lead,” Iden said in a statement. Iden played Division-III tennis at Kalamazoo College. “College sports is a billion-dollar business, but these outdated NCAA rules treat the student-athletes at the heart of that business unfairly. Right now, student-athletes have no liberty when it comes to capitalizing on their own names and images.”
Tate spent three years starting as an offensive lineman for Michigan State University before entering the NFL for two years with the Jacksonville Jaguars, St. Louis Rams and Atlanta Falcons. He said that any other citizen is free to charge for similar services, except for college student-athletes.
“Someone can set up a signing at their store and charge $25 per inscription, but the student-athlete providing that signature or inscription gets nothing under current NCAA bylaws,” Tate said. “Athletes who are struggling to get by and unable to even have a little walking around money are going to be able to enter into the market through their current craft, and that’s a positive and just development.”
Tate said he planned to sponsor another bill that would allow agents to contract with student-athletes, which is currently illegal in Michigan.
Lawmakers in Colorado, Florida, Illinois and other states have introduced similar legislation.