A couple of Oklahoma Lawmakers have introduced legislation that would allow college athletes to be paid. The legislation dubbed “fair pay to play” is very similar to the law recently passed in California and would allow college athletes to make money off their name or likeness.
“It’s not the Universities or colleges paying the student-athletes, it’s them earning endorsements on their name, likeness, and image,” says Representative Mickey Dollens.
Rep. Dollens is a former Division 1 football player from SMU then was on the Olympic bobsled team.
“It was here that I learned that athletes aren’t paid a salary but they can earn endorsements, sponsorships. So that’s what they did to survive.”
Dollens says that the Olympic model is the basis for the bill he's co-authoring with Rep. Monroe Nichols who played football for the University of Tulsa.
“Students can use their name, likeness, and image to earn endorsements, monetize your YouTube accounts, to put on their own camps and clinics,” Dollens explains.
In October the NCAA said it is also looking into loosening restrictions so players can make money off their name and likeness. At least 16 other states are considering legislation similar to the Dollens/Nichols proposal.
“I believe that student-athletes should have the same rights as other students being able to participate in a capitalistic society, free-market society and use their talents to profit,” Dollens says.
Those opposed to such legislation argue it would allow University boosters to enter into bidding wars for top high school recruits.