PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Just a day after California lawmakers signed a bill into law which allows student-athletes to be paid, officials in Pennsylvania are attempting to follow suit.
It is being called, the “Fair Pay to Play Act.”
It would be similar to the controversial bill in California that just became law, which allows college athletes to be paid.
Announcement: NCPA partners w @RepDanMiller & @RepGainey to introduce bill to allow college athlete pay for name, image & likeness in Pennsylvania! Justice is coming to PA college athletes! This & more in @TIME https://t.co/bhyhO4VWyT
— NCPA (@NCPANOW) October 1, 2019
Two lawmakers from Allegheny County say Pennsylvania should be next to enact such a law.
For PA Rep. Ed Gainey, an East Liberty Democrat, it’s a matter of economic justice.
“We’re talking about a billion-dollar industry,” Gainey told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Tuesday.
“We’re talking about universities making money, corporations making money on the like, name, and images of these athletes, and at the end of the day these athletes have nothing.”
Gainey has teamed up with PA Rep. Dan Miller, a Mt. Lebanon Democrat, to push a Pennsylvania version of the Fair Pay to Play Act.
“California took action. We’re hoping Pennsylvania is next in line in relation to providing economic freedom for our collegiate athletes,” said Miller.
The idea is to allow student-athletes at Pitt, Penn State, Temple, and all the others to share in the great wealth that their unique skills generate for their schools and the NCAA.
“What this bill does is give you freedom,” said Miller.
“It allows you to do endorsements, sponsorships, enter into contracts with agents to represent your interests, to build your name brand up in a way that can help you through college or maybe for the select special few enable you to get into the pros.”
Gainey says that unless Pennsylvania acts, student-athletes here may go to California.
“California has changed the game. and I don’t think you want all top-flight athletes going to California.”
“To me, you would want to be competitive,” added Gainey.
No surprise, the NCAA opposes this and threatens to deny athletes in states with these laws from NCAA sports.
Others worry many college athletes play sports for which there is little compensation.
But Miller says change is coming.
“This will become law.”
Now the Pennsylvania version of the Fair Pay to Play Act is not yet in final form.
The sponsors say it will largely mirror the California bill and, if enacted, it would not take effect until January 1, 2023.
Governor Tom Wolf released a statement, saying:
“Governor Wolf looks forward to reviewing Rep. Miller’s bill. Governor Wolf believes college athletes should be fairly compensated, especially for the use of their name, image and likeness. He would be open to a conversation with the General Assembly about how to make the current system more fair for hard-working athletes, including allowing adult student athletes to have endorsement or licensing contracts.”