Kansas Senate considers bill allowing college athletes to profit

Published: Mar. 4, 2020 at 6:54 PM CST
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Kansas and about 30 other states are taking legislative action to allow college athletes to get paid for their name, image and likeness.

Director of Athletics at the University of Kansas said, "College athletics is on the verge of a new day and it is critical that the intercollegiate athletics teams in our state remain competitive."

Long and representatives from Kansas State University, Emporia State University and the Kansas Independent College Association were at the Statehouse Wednesday to weigh in on Senate Bill 474.

"It simply clears the way for student athletes to make use of their name, image and likeness during the time that they are serving as college athletes," said Allison Garrett, President of Emporia State University.

That means college athletes in Kansas could hire agents and profit from endorsements. Other states are working to adopt similar legislation, with California leading the pack.

Long said, "The California law brings potential unintended consequences and Kansas must be prepared to enact this bill."

Long and K-State's Director of Athletics, Gene Taylor, said not adopting the bill will give other states the upper hand on recruiting.

"SB 474 will ensure colleges and universities within our state are not placed at a disadvantage," said Long.

A few concerns brought up at the hearing were how to maintain a level playing field and protect the collegiate model.

Garrett said, "One thing that I think is incredibly important is being able to ensure that a balance of opportunity for men and women remains."

"I'm focused on and hope we never depart from the core of our educational benefit of what we provide for our student athletes," said Long, "So, those 2% that have the opportunity to monetize, we're opening the door to allow them to do that, but we're keeping that base educational core for that 98% who don't have a name, image and likeness they can sell."

After the hearing Senate Commerce Committee Chair, Julia Lynn, said more discussion on the bill is needed. As it stands, 15 states must adopt similar legislation before Kansas will implement it.