College Athlete Compensation Bill Proposed in NY

State senator Kevin Parker's bill also calls for quality of life component

Tom Puckett
September 19, 2019 - 4:00 am

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Buffalo, NY (WBEN) A state senator from Brooklyn believes college athletes should be compensated more than a scholarship for hitting both the field and the books.

State Senator Kevin Parker is proposing a bill allowing college athletes to be compensated the college's use of their names, likenesses, and images while they compete. "They can do all of this while receiving their scholarships," says Parker. "Getting some kind of compensation through college scholarship is significant, but it doesn't match the literally hundreds of millions of dollars some of these top universities are getting for the work of these student athletes." He says the scholarship is not often enough. "They have scholarships to go to school, but how do they or their families take care of themselves? I think this is part of important economic justice being brought into college sports," explains Parker. 

Parker's bill also calls for a quality of life component. "If they unfortunately get severely injured, there's money in a fund that allows to collect some sort of compensation after you graduate," says Parker. "Over time, you will find more students will stay in college because they are being compensated instead of being one and done," though Parker admits there will still be some exceptional athletes who will leave college early.

Other states have been considering this issue. Earlier this month, the California legislature approved a Fair Pay to Play Act, which if signed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, would prohibit the NCAA from penalizing California institutions from allowing student athletes to receive compensation for the use of their name, image and/or likeness.

“The NCAA didn’t budge from its historic position in the O’Bannon case,” says UB's Nellie Drew, referring to the antitrust class action lawsuit filed by former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon to allow former college athletes to be compensated for the NCAA’s commercial use of a player’s image. “The NCAA sent Gov. Newsom a letter urging him to veto the bill – which passed both the California Senate and Assembly unanimously.”

Meanwhile, Drew says, South Carolina has “entered the fray, with a member of each house of the South Carolina Legislature stating their intent to file a similar bill as California when that Legislature reconvenes in January.”

Drew agrees with Parker about many college athletes not having a career in sports after college. "Is there an unrealistic expectation if student athletes are not going to experience the same benefits the institutions receive when they perform on the field. Who is the appropriate party or should both parties be allowed to benefit" is the question Drew says.

The problem with bills passing state by state is it could lead to a hopscotch approach to NCAA enforcement and other matters. "You would have the NCAA time to enforce amateur regulations only in jurisdictions where it's still legal for it to do so. This would also lead to chaos with eligibility and recruiting among other issues," explains Drew.

Drew says she would not be surprised if it's passed in New York. Parker syas he will make his bill a top priority in Albany. He says he will also talk with colleges in the coming weeks for their thoughts on the issue.

 

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