Lawmaker wants Fair Pay to Play bill introduced next session

Lawmaker wants Fair Pay to Play bill introduced next session
If one local lawmaker's proposed legislation makes it's way through the process, the state's college athletes could fall under a Fair Pay to Play law by 2022. (Source: wlox)

GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - One Mississippi lawmaker would like to see the state’s college athletes get paid for the use of their name, likeness and image sooner rather than later.

Sen. Joel Carter saw California pass their version of a similar bill - the Fair Pay to Play Act - just a few months ago. Now, he and others would like to establish a similar law during the next legislative session.

Carter said they are still beginning the process of putting the bill together.

“It’s based off an athlete’s likeness and image,” explained Carter. "Basically, if the college uses their image on billboards or any type of advertising, or even if Nike were to do an ad featuring this athlete... You also have EA Sports that has a video game with all these college athletes, so it’s going to center around all that.”

Carter says if passed, this version of Fair Pay to Play would take some time to fall into place.

“This bill has a task force built into it so it doesn’t become active until 2022,” he said. "It gives us a year to really dive in and see how to make this legislation work.”

The proposed legislation would not only include Mississippi’s college athletes, but it would also include the athletes at Mississippi’s community and junior colleges.

“As it stands right now, the IHL [Institutions of Higher Learning] commissioner would appoint an athletic director from a JUCO [junior college] and a four year university, a head coach from both four year and JUCO, and then there will be four student athletes from four year schools and two from community colleges,” Carter said. “The lieutenant governor would have an appointment and so would the Speaker of the House. That’s what is proposed right now, but you know as well as I do, things can change.”

Carter says whatever the case, he and others see the changing landscape of college athletics and they’d like to see the state ahead of the curve on fair pay to play laws.

The California law goes into effect in 2023. Like Mississippi, more than a dozen states have followed with similar legislation.

A group of NCAA administrators have been exploring since May the ways in which athletes could be allowed to receive compensation for the use of their names, images and likenesses.

According to NCAA officials, the challenges lie in determining what regulations need to be set in place; what markets athletes should be allowed to access; what entities and individuals they should be permitted to work with; and whether the schools themselves could provide funds to athletes through licensing deals.

The NCAA has said California’s law is unconstitutional, and any states that pass similar legislation could see their athletes and schools being declared ineligible to compete. But the board also said it hopes to reach a resolution with states without going to court.

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