Bipartisan bills introduced allowing student-athletes to get paid

    Michigan Capitol | Susan J. Demas

    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.

    Brandt Iden

    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 “College sports is a billion-dollar business, but these outdated NCAA rules treat the student-athletes at the heart of that business unfairly.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.

    Hollier plans bill to expand on NCAA student income rules

    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.”

    Nick Manes
    Nick Manes covers West Michigan, business and labor, health care and the safety net. He previously spent six years as a reporter at MiBiz covering commercial real estate, economic development and all manner of public policy at the local and state levels. His byline also has appeared in Route Fifty and The Daily Beast. When not reporting around the state or furiously tweeting, he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, Krista, biking around his hometown of Grand Rapids and torturing himself rooting for the Detroit Lions.