Athlete compensation bill moves through Senate Rules Committee

by | Feb 26, 2020

On Wednesday the Senate Committee on Rules voted unanimously to pass a compensation bill that would allow student-athletes to market themselves off the field.

The measure (SB 646), introduced by Republican Senator Debbie Mayfield, would allow certain college athletes to profit off their “name, image, likeness, and persona.” The proposal is similar to a House companion bill (HB 7051) that is ready for a floor vote.

The bill passed unanimously in the Senate Rules Committee, with a vote of 15-0. The measure will now head to the Senate floor for an official vote.

Mayfield’s legislation is one of four bills filed for this year’s legislative session after California passed a law in 2019 that would allow college athletes to hire agents and sign endorsement deals starting in 2023.

Following the California law and Governor Ron DeSantis throwing his support behind the idea, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Board of Governors decided in October of last year to consider updates to bylaws and policies regarding athletes profiting off their image.

Senators have been cautiously debating the bill, with the it drawing concerns from some legislators who believe the proposal would only prop up sports agents who will use the opportunity to prey on college stars to line their pockets. Mayfield, however, says her bill will put both the state and the NCAA on the same level.

“This is more of a pressure to put on NCAA, that says, ‘The states are moving in this direction. You need to come up with rules so we’re all playing by the same game,’” Mayfield said during today’s hearing.

Unlike the House version of the bill that will take effect on July 1, 2020, the Senate proposal won’t go into effect until July 1, 2021.

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