WASHINGTON (KSNT) – Kansas’ U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran just introduced a bill Wednesday that could bring benefits for college athletes across the country.
The new federal bill would allow college athletes to sign endorsement deals, with some restrictions on the kinds, and also increase the requirements on medical coverage college athletics departments have to provide for the students. ESPN reported the bill also lets players transfer to other schools and enter professional drafts like the NBA’s without losing college eligibility.
“This bill strikes an appropriate balance as we work to empower amateur athletes while maintaining the integrity of college sports that we all know and love,” Moran told ESPN.
Moran’s federal bill is the latest development in the discussion surrounding student-athlete compensation. Lawmakers in Kansas fielded debate considering similar legislation in March 2020 for state universities. The Kansas bill would allow athletes to be compensated, for example, if an athlete is offered a brand deal with a company, then they would be able to be paid. However, if the bill passed through the full Kansas legislature, it would only go into effect if 15 other states enact similar legislation.
Representatives from Kansas State University, the University of Kansas, and Emporia State University have spoken in favor of the Kansas bill for college athlete compensation. They haven’t made comments regarding Moran’s more recent federal bill, though ESU president Allison Garrett’s past comments seem to imply support.
“Without national-level rulemaking, it will be incredibly difficult to assure that there is a level playing field among student-athletes at different universities throughout the United States,” Garrett said.
However, some of Moran’s colleagues in the Senate have also disagreed with paying college athletes in past hearings from 2020.
“I do not see a good ending to allowing a few students to be paid by commercial interests while most of their teammates are not,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who ran track at Vanderbilt in the 1960s. “If young athletes want to be part of a team, enjoy the undergraduate experience, learn from coaches who are among the best teachers and be paid a full scholarship that helps them earn a degree worth $1 million during their lifetime their earnings should benefit student-athletes at that institution.”