Michigan legislation introduced to allow college athlete compensation

Wednesday, November 6, 2019 - 6:40pm

A bipartisan plan was announced Wednesday afternoon that would sanction current and future college athletes to profit off their name, likeness and image.

A bipartisan plan was announced Wednesday afternoon that would sanction current and future college athletes to profit off their name, likeness and image. Buy this photo
Evan Aaron/Daily

Two Michigan legislators introduced a bipartisan plan Wednesday afternoon that would sanction current and future college athletes to profit off their name, likeness and image, according to an official news release.

State Reps. Brandt Iden, R-Oshtemo, and Joe Tate, D-Detroit — both former college athletes — presented bills allowing student-athlete pay that, if signed into law, would go into effect July 2020.

“We’re not going to punt on this issue. We’re going to lead,” Iden, once a tennis player at Kalamazoo College, said in the release. “College sports is a billion-dollar business, but these outdated NCAA rules treat the student-athletes at the heart of that business unfairly.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.”

The news comes a little over a month after California passed its Fair Pay to Play Act, that, similar to the proposed Michigan bills, permits student-athlete compensation for name, image and likeness starting in 2023. And just eight days ago, the NCAA Board of Directors voted to begin the process of considering fair compensation for its athletes.

The Iden-sponsored bill would entitle college athletes to receive money from third parties in exchange for using their name, likeness or image. Tate’s bill would legalize agents to enter into contracts with student athletes, currently considered a crime in Michigan.

“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, a former Michigan State football player and co-captain, said. “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.”

Michigan associate athletic director Kurt Svoboda offered The Daily a statement Wednesday regarding the newly-presented bills.

“The athletic department does not comment on pending legislation,” Svoboda said. “As such, we have no official comment here.”