House moves forward with college athlete compensation bill, ahead of NCAA decision on issue

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – College athletes could soon be making money while they’re playing sports in Kansas.

A new bill wouldn’t allow colleges to pay players, but athletes would be able to make some income on their name, image and likeness. This bill would let athletes earn compensation, and would prohibit colleges from preventing athletes from making money.

Many states are considering changing laws on what is allowed for college athletes. Those who support the bill don’t want Kansas to fall behind what other states are offering.

“It is a movement that is going on all around the country,” Wichita Representative Susan Humphries said. “And that’s why Kansas feels like we need to get on top of it, so that there’s a fairer playing field for all the athletes that we want to come to our universities and colleges.”

But some are concerned that states are acting too fast.

“The problem that we have before us is, do we want to pass legislation that is not ready for primetime, because we want to make sure the Jayhawks, and the Wildcats, and the Shockers have a good recruiting season,” Wichita Representative John Carmichael said.

There is a worry that if this is passed, Congress or the NCAA could put in place different rules that could contradict what Kansas is doing.

“Whatever restrictions they might put on, once they’ve been through careful consideration probably won’t be valid in Kansas,” Carmichael said. “We may see Kansas athletes and institutions losing eligibility, but none of that’s been thought through in the committee’s deliberations.”

The NCAA considered creating new rules addressing the issue in January but delayed a decision. Supporters hope this bill could change what is currently allowed in Kansas.

“We want to be able to be apart of that, as a stopgap until either the NCAA or federal statutes put into place what is actually going to happen all across the country,” Humphries said. “But we don’t want Kansas to be left out.”

The bill appears like it will pass in the House, but will also need to be approved by the Senate. If passed, the law would take effect in January.

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