Two Pennsylvania Legislators Plan to Introduce a "Fair Play to Pay" Bill

By RLR Staff on October 1, 2019 at 3:13 pm
Sep 14, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; A general view of the press box at Beaver Stadium prior to the game between the Pittsburgh Panthers and the Penn State Nittany Lions. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

On the heels of California Governor Gavin Newsom signing legislation that would allow student-athletes to be compensated for the use of their name, likeness, and image, two legislators want to do the same in Pennsylvania. Democratic Representatives Dan Miller and Ed Gainey are seeking bipartisan support for the measure before formally introducing it in Harrisburg.

According to a memo circulated by the pair, the Pennsylvania "Fair Play to Pay Act"  will "capitalize on recent efforts in California to help balance the scales and allow our college athletes to sign endorsement deals, earn compensation for their name, image, and likeness, and sign licensing contracts that will allow them to earn money." The California bill passed both houses of the legislature without a single vote against the measure. Similar bills have been introduced or are in the works in New York, Florida, and South Carolina as well.

The goal in each case is to allow players to benefit from their own name, image, or likeness. Current NCAA rules prohibit such moves, with athletes essentially signing over those rights to their school. This legislation would prohibit the organization from ruling student athletes ineligible for pursuing those opportunities.

Miller told the Daily Collegian that he wants to make sure Pennsylvania schools do not fall behind as these sorts of bills become more common:

"We also want to be sure the competitiveness in the athletic sides of our system remains strong," Miller said. "And that means if you as a student-athlete can perhaps have more control of your economic destiny by going to a place that allows you to do that like California, you may find that Pennsylvania’s schools may become a little less desirable when some Division-I athletes can control their future at UCLA."

The California measure does not become law until 2023.

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