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California Law Prompts States to Consider Copycats

Jason Scott

California may just have been the first domino to fall. In the wake of that state’s governor Gavin Newsom signing into law legislation that will allow student-athletes to earn money from their name, image and likeness, now it appears that other states are poised to take similar action. 

Legislators in Florida, Colorado, South Carolina, New York and Nevada have reportedly either hinted at introducing copycat legislation, or outright introduced it.

Sports Illustrated reports that state representative Kionne McGhee filed HB 251, which “authorizes students participating in intercollegiate athletics to receive specified compensation; provides requirements for specified students, postsecondary educational institutions, certain organizations, & specified representatives; & creates Florida College System Athlete Name, Image and Likeness Task Force.” 

Meanwhile, the Las Vegas Review Journal’s Colton Lochhead reports that two Nevada legislators — assembly speaker Jason Frierson and state senator Yvanna Cancela have indicated their interest in legislation allowing student-athletes to make money from their name, image and likeness.

Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs) and Jeff Bridges (D-Denver), a bipartisan duo of Colorado state senators have gone on record, telling Denver Fox affiliate KDVR to expect similar legislation to be introduced when the General Assembly reconvenes in January. “The NCAA thinks they can control their athletes and I think the athletes should be able to control their own destinies,” Hill told KDVR.

According to The State newspaper, South Carolina will consider its own version of the law in January when that state’s General Assembly reconvenes. “The NCAA is not an amateur sports league,” South Carolina state senator Marlon Kimpson, one of the proponents of new legislation, told The State. “This is a multibillion dollar sports empire where everyone involved makes money except the players on the field who earn it.” Politics may make South Carolina’s legislative situation difficult, as similar legislation proposed in 2015 never even got a hearing. 

Finally, while copycats seem to be gaining steam, some states are considering bills that include some slight, but significant tweaks. In New York, Senate Bill S6722A would, in addition to allowing student-athletes to earn money from their name, image and likeness, would actually require colleges and universities to share 15 percent of annual revenues directly with student-athletes. “It’s about equity,” state senator Kevin Parker told ESPN regarding the legislation, which he proposed. “These young people are adding their skill, talent and labor to these universities. … You don’t need the shortcuts and the end-arounds because now we’re providing some real support for these student-athletes.”

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