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State Sen. Joseph Lagana (D-Paramus). (Photo: New Jersey Globe.)

Lagana, Cunningham introduce bill to let college athletes make money

NCAA bars student athletes from profiting from their likeness

By Nikita Biryukov, October 25 2019 10:25 am

State Sens. Joe Lagana and Sandra Cunningham on introduced a bill allowing college athletes to get paid for their sport.

“The restrictions currently placed on our student-athletes are fundamentally unfair. A lot of people, including many at the NCAA, earn large amounts of money off of the blood, sweat and tears of talented young New Jerseyans in this State and, frankly, across the country,” Lagana said. “As a former college athlete, I witnessed firsthand the sacrifice put in by so many of my peers and cannot overlook the inequality created when students that excel in other disciplines, such as the arts, are not restricted in seeking endorsements.”

The National College Athletics Association does not allow its athletes to profit from the use of their name or likeness by the league.

The bill would bar any higher education institution from preventing their students from getting paid. It would also allow student athletes to obtain representation through an agent or attorney.

Schools themselves would be barred from retaliating by pulling scholarships under the bill.

Student athletes would not be able to sue their likeness for advertising in all industries. Use of student likeness in the porn, gun, drug and gambling industries, among others, would not be protected.

The bill would make New Jersey the second to allow collegiate athletes to profit from their sport.

“Universities are making immense profits from their athletic departments and while students receive scholarships, one serious injury can leave them with no scholarship, no way to pay for the remainder of their degree and no real path on how to move forward with their life or their career,” said Senator Cunningham (D-Hudson). “Things have to change, and that can only happen if we take action. By allowing students to accept endorsements and profit off their likeness, we can put them in control of their future, without having to rely entirely on the goodwill of the school they attend.”

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