PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pennsylvania could soon join California in allowing college student-athletes to get paid. State Reps. Dan Miller and Ed Gainey announced Monday plans to introduce a similar bill to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
When California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act into law on Monday, questions immediately flared: Will schools like USC and Stanford be able to participate in NCAA championships? Is it fair to establish such a big recruiting advantage?
California may not be the only state where these questions apply.
In the conversation concerning college athletes and money, three terms are spoken together — name, image and likeness.
Most college students are the sole owners of their names, but under NCAA regulation, student-athletes are not.
With Senate Bill 206, California on Monday became the first state to give ownership back to student players, allowing them to profit off of use of their name, image and likeness through things such as endorsement contracts and clinic hosting.
“I feel like if you are generating money for the university, I think you should get paid,” Temple University freshman Messiah Cooper said. “What if you get hurt and your season and career is over?”
Two lawmakers in Pennsylvania agree.
State Reps. Miller and Gainey — both of Allegheny County — are preparing to introduce a bill similar to California’s SB206, citing economic freedom for college athletes.
“Athletes are forced to give up their rights and economic freedom while the colleges make hundreds of millions of dollars off their talent and likeness,” Miller said. “This bill would help to balance the scales.”
Miller says the bill would allow student-athletes the ability to sign endorsements, earn compensation and hire agents.
“Our student-athletes give their blood, sweat and tears to a sport they live while colleges, universities and corporations reap the financial benefits of their work,” Gainey said. “If a college football head coach can earn $4.8 million for coaching ‘amateur student-athletes,’ and if corporations can earn billions of dollars using the players’ names and faces, then how is it not fair for them to earn some sort of financial compensation?
“The chances of a professional contract and thus a payout for all of their hard work and pain are tiny, and we owe it to them to level the playing field.”
Temple students believe the work student-athletes put in warrants compensation.
“They put the work in like any other job,” freshman Kristen Rice said.
“They do put in a lot of work for what they do and they have to be a full-time student as well,” freshman Hannah Seewald said.
While every Temple student agreed with the law in California and the initiative to do the same locally, NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley voiced some concerns during an evening at Rowan University.
“Let’s say you are a big ugly offensive lineman. You are doing all the work for the running back and the quarterback and they are selling jerseys,” Barkley told the Rowan crowd. “I think there is going to be some serious resentment in the locker room.”
Barkley went on to say that he hasn’t made up his mind just yet and he supports players being paid for the use of their likeness in video games.
There is no word on exactly when Gainey and Miller will introduce the bill, but it’s expected to reach the Pennsylvania House of Representatives soon.