CHICAGO (CBS) — California recently signed a game-changer in college sports.
It is the first state to sign legislation to allow athletes to make some money off themselves.
As CBS 2’s Matt Zahn explains, now it’s sparking other states, including Illinois to possibly do the same.
“I really think it’s about fairness and equity for the student athletes.”
And that is why Illinois State Representative Emanuel Chris Welch of Westchester said he is sponsoring House Bill 3904, which mimics the newly passed California law, that’s been dubbed the Fair Pay to Play Act.
What it basically would do is allow a student athlete to use their own image likeness to benefit financially, something they’re not currently allowed to do under NCAA Rules.
“They are going to promote local restaurants in their college town, maybe a car dealership, go to a sporting goods store and have an appearance for two hours and signs some autographs. They are just hustling on the side making money. How is that any different from the student who is in school on a music scholarship and on the weekend he’s in the local bar making money,” said Welch.
A sports economist at the University of Chicago said it’s the basic economics of college sports that are fueling the movement for change.
“If I go back to 1984, and inflation and adjusted dollars, CBS paid the NCAA $12 million to broadcast Men’s NCAA March Madness. This last March and April, it was $1.1 Billion. It’s just so much money on the table,” said University of Chicago sports economist Allen Sanderson.
This current legislation does not go as far as actually paying college athletes a salary, but the NCAA is against it saying student athletes already get paid with scholarships and a degree, but Sanderson thinks a change to the system is inevitable.
“Well, it’s not the last nail in the coffin of the NCAA, but it’s getting closer,” added Sanderson.
The bills in both California and Illinois wouldn’t take effect until 2023.
Of course, there is expected to be litigation from the NCAA before that happens.