Bipartisan State House Bills Would Allow College Athletes To Be Paid For Likeness, Name, Image

Michigan lawmakers will consider letting college athletes be paid for the use of their name, image and likeness. Bipartisan bills introduced in the state House on Wednesday are modeled after a proposal signed into law in California in September. Republican Representative Brandt Iden of Kalamazoo County is one of the sponsors.

“These reforms are long overdue to protect the rights of student athletes attending Michigan colleges and universities,” Iden told colleagues. “As a former student athlete myself, I believe this is an issue of fairness. Student athletes should be allowed to be compensated by third parties for the use of their name, image, or likeness.”

Democratic Representative Joe Tate of Detroit is working with Iden. Tate played football for Michigan State from 2000-2003 before moving on to the NFL and said in a joint statement that despite getting scholarships, student athletes are often struggling to get by due to the NCAA’s current regulations. His bill allows college athletes to sign contracts with agents, which is currently illegal in the state.

Iden says the “billion-dollar business of college athletics is built upon the labor of student athletes.”

“TV contracts, merchandise sales and advertising deals with universities and conferences rise in value every year. While scholarships and aid clearly have an important value, we can and should allow student athletes more opportunities to benefit from their own popularity,” said Iden. He played tennis for Kalamazoo College. If passed and signed by the governor, the new laws would take effect in July 2020.