In the wake of an abrupt policy change by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and a new law in California, myriad Michigan lawmakers are rushing to introduce their own legislation allowing compensation for amateur athletes.
State Reps. Brandt Iden (R-Oshtemo) and Joe Tate (D-Detroit) on Wednesday held a ceremonial introduction for legislation to allow “current and future student-athletes to receive fair compensation for their name, image and likeness,” according to a statement.
Such legislation is almost identical to a new policy introduced by the NCAA last month.
“We’re not going to punt on this issue. We’re going to lead,” Iden, who played tennis at Kalamazoo College, said in a statement. “College sports is a billion-dollar business, but these outdated NCAA rules treat the student-athletes at the heart of that business unfairly.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.”
Similarly, state Sen. Adam Hollier (D-Detroit) has his own legislation pending to create “kind of a right to privacy” to allow amateur athletes to earn outside income and still maintain their eligibility, as the Advance reported last week.
Tate is a former college football player for Michigan State University who also played professional football. He plans a bill that would allow agents to enter into contracts with student-athletes, which is currently considered a crime in Michigan.
If signed into law, the bills — which are not yet available online — would take effect in July 2020.
“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 in a statement. “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.”