Following California’s lead, New Jersey lawmakers want college athletes to be paid

Rutgers guard Caleb McConnell (22) goes to the basket against Indiana guard Aljami Durham (1) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, March 10, 2019, in Bloomington, Ind. (Darron Cummings/AP Photo)

Rutgers guard Caleb McConnell (22) goes to the basket against Indiana guard Aljami Durham (1) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, March 10, 2019, in Bloomington, Ind. (Darron Cummings/AP Photo)

Two New Jersey lawmakers want to allow college athletes to earn money from sports, as more states look to lift a longstanding ban on students profiting from university athletics.

“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 State Sen. Sandra Cunningham, D-Hudson, who sponsored the New Jersey Fair Play Act.

The legislation would allow student-athletes to earn money for the use of their names, images or likenesses, which could apply to endorsements, video games, and more. It would also allow student-athletes to hire agents and attorneys.

The lawmakers said it was unfair that the National Collegiate Athletic Association and colleges and universities profited from their athletic programs, yet blocked student-athletes from earning any compensation.

The proposal in New Jersey mirrors a law recently signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom of California, the first such law to allow student-athletes to make money from sports.

Similar legislation is under consideration in Congress, as well as in Florida, New York, South Carolina, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania, the sponsors said.

New Jersey student-athletes would still be blocked from profiting from their images or likenesses in connection with adult entertainment, alcohol, gambling, tobacco and e-cigarettes, pharmaceuticals, controlled dangerous substances, and firearms.

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