State Rep. Matt Hall (R-Marshall) and the House Oversight Committee he chairs today approved a plan with broad bipartisan support allowing current and future student-athletes to receive fair compensation for their name, image and likeness.
Hall, who co-sponsored the legislation, said the proposal will address the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) rigorous and obsolete rules on amateurism.
“Student-athletes are the driving force behind why the NCCA and collegiate sports in general are so popular and successful,” Hall said. “Student-athletes are why people tune in to a game on television, buy a ticket to the game or a jersey to signify their support. At the same time many of these athletes are struggling to make ends meet, their university’s athletic department is raking in millions of dollars on their talent. That’s not right. We should be honoring athletes’ individual rights and economic freedoms. That is why we are having an open and honest discussion on how to end this unfair practice.”
Under the plan, student-athletes would be able to receive compensation from a third party in exchange for using any forms of name, likeness or image – something a private citizen outside the NCCA bubble is free to do at any time.
The practice is currently banned by the NCAA, despite players’ names and likenesses being a driving force behind hundreds of millions of dollars in profits for numerous member institutions. The association has recently committed to eventually allowing compensation for student-athletes, but Hall said eventually isn’t soon or good enough.
“We are making a long-overdue change to prevent unfair restrictions on student-athletes’ ability to benefit from their own athletic talents,” Hall said. “We can’t wait on the NCAA to make this much-needed change. It has been clear for a long time student-athletes are worth more to their schools than scholarships and grants. We are making Michigan student-athletes have the same rights to earn an income as other students while maintaining their amateur status.”
Hall said the legislation also would allow agents to enter into contracts with student-athletes, which is currently considered a crime in Michigan. If signed into law, the plan would be effective in December 2021.
House Bills 5217 and 5218 now move to the House Ways and Means Committee for further consideration.