A bill that would allow college athletes to get paid for endorsements and sign with agents will get a hearing in the Washington state legislature this week.

KING 5 News reports that the bill, HB 1084, will be heard in the College and Workforce Development Committee on Wednesday. If it passes, it would allow college athletes to earn money in a way that current NCAA regulations prevent.

From the bill text:

“The legislature finds that every student enrolled at an institution of higher education in this state should have an equal right: To earn compensation for services provided; to be paid for the use of his or her name, image, and likeness; and to hire agents to represent the student’s interests. The legislature further finds that students should not be compelled to choose between forfeiting these rights and participating in intercollegiate athletic competitions.”

The bill would essentially make it illegal for the NCAA to enforce its rules. It says that “no person may prohibit or suspend any student from competing in an intercollegiate athletic competition; or otherwise penalize a student, because the student has engaged in the conduct described” earlier in the bill’s text.

“The value [student-athletes] deliver back to the university far exceeds the value of that scholarship,” Rep. Drew Stokesbary, the bill’s main sponsor, told KING 5. “Maybe Nike wants to pay him $50,000 to be in a billboard near University Village, that would be allowed.”

If the bill passes, it could set up difficult showdowns between Washington athletics programs and the NCAA. Stokesbury admits that those issues would need to be addressed prior to becoming law.

 

Jason Scott is Online Managing Editor of Athletic Business.