Bill that Would Allow Student-Athletes to Receive Compensation Passes in State Senate

A bill that would allow Oregon to follow California’s lead in allowing student athletes to receive some compensation for their work in promoting their schools and institutions passed in the state Senate this week.

Currently, colleges, universities and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) profit from the talent and hard work of student athletes, but those athletes are barred from receiving compensation for their work. Senate Bill 1501, which passed off the Senate floor Tuesday, would change that by allowing student athletes to receive fair pay for their hard work.

Sen. Shemia Fagan, a Portland Democrat and chief sponsor of the proposed legislation, said in a press release that the image and likenesses of student athletes are used by video games and in marketing materials for institutions of higher learning.

“These student athletes, who are putting in the work and sacrifice, do not see a dime of those profits,” Fagan said. “These students make a substantial commitment of their time, and too often, they struggle to afford their basic needs. They deserve more than simply recognition, they deserve to get a fair share of the profit their work creates.”

SB 1501 would allow student athletes to secure agent representation and endorsements. The bill would also enable them to maintain ownership over their name, image and likeness, and protect them from retaliation when they seek or receive compensation.

Additionally, the bill would allow certain student athletes to be paid at the market rate for “coaching” jobs (think sports clinics and camps for kids).

“These student athletes give everything to their school and their sport,” said Senate President Peter Courtney, from Salem. “They are the single best marketers for their institutions. It’s time that their contributions are recognized in a substantial way.”

Courtney introduced SB 1501 and has been an outspoken supporter of fair treatment for student athletes.

While supporters say the bill would remove the injustice of allowing colleges, universities and the NCAA to profit off of uncompensated athletes, it would also nullify the rather significant recruiting advantage California currently enjoys over Oregon and most other states.

SB 1501 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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