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Colorado Lawmakers Push for Student-Athlete Pay

Andy Berg

Lawmakers in Colorado are prepping legislation that would break with longstanding NCAA amateur rules that prohibit colleges and universities from paying student-athletes.

According to The Denver Post, a pair of Colorado senators are sponsoring legislation that would allow the state’s colleges to pay their athletes, while also allowing those athletes to accept endorsements.

Democratic senator Jeff Bridges and Republican senator Owen Hill say their bill would allow student-athletes to be paid, receive endorsement deals and sue the NCAA in the event the association pushes back.

“My hope is this doesn’t end in a lawsuit,” Bridges told the Post. “This bill is about getting the NCAA to do the right thing.”

Hill noted that the NCAA’s Division I men’s basketball tournament brought in $1.29 billion in television ad revenue in 2017. He said the current system is unfair. 

“The current system benefits a bunch of rich, mostly white people at the expense of mostly minority students,” said Hill, of Colorado Springs. “The schools flew out their big donors and sponsors, but the kids’ parents, who couldn’t afford to buy tickets, watched it on TV. That’s just wrong.” 

The efforts by Colorado legislators come as similar efforts are underway in both California and Washington.

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