JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri House General Laws Committee heard testimony Monday regarding proposed legislation that would allow college athletes in the state to receive some forms of compensation without jeopardizing their eligibility.
Supporters say the NCAA is making millions from athletes who in some cases struggle to have enough money to buy food.
Two lawmakers presented bills that would allow college athletes to earn compensation for things such as autographs or commercials. State Rep. Nick Schroer (R-O’Fallon) has filed HB 1564 and State Rep. Wes Rogers (D-Kansas City) has filed HB 1792. The bills are similar and could eventually be combined into one bill that would prohibit a university or the NCAA from preventing a student from earning compensation for the student’s name, image, likeness rights, or athletic reputation.
“Right now, if an offensive lineman at Mizzou wants to sign autographs on his own time or shoot a commercial for a local car dealership, he couldn’t accept compensation for that,” Schroer said.
Bill supporters say some programs have already found ways to compensate superstar athletes.
“Student-athletes are being paid all over the country and the universities and the boosters that do that very rarely get punished,” Rogers said.
Ramogij Huma testified in favor of the bill on behalf of the National College Players Association.
“NCAA sports have put together an amazing product but players are a partner in this,” he said.
Huma told lawmakers players deserve to have the same economic freedoms as other students.
California recently became the first state in the country to allow pay for college athletes. Rogers said the best-case scenario is for national legislation to address the issue but until then, he hopes Missouri lawmakers will help get the ball rolling.
No one testified against the proposed legislation during Monday’s hearing.