Score! College Athletes a Step Closer to Earning Compensation for their Likeness

The House Committee on Education today passed landmark legislation to allow collegiate athletes to be compensated for the use of their likeness. The bill, sponsored by Representatives Leslie Herod and James Coleman, passed by 11-2. 

“College sports are a cash cow for institutions and corporations alike, but the athletes who diligently train, work and perform every week aren’t sharing in the prosperity,” said Rep. Herod, D-Denver. “This bill will support those college athletes by allowing them to profit off of their image and likeness and to monetize the brand they have worked so hard to cultivate.”

“College athletes work their whole life to earn the right to play at this level,” said Rep. Coleman, D-Denver. “America loves to cheer on their favorite athletes, and more and more Americans are turning to college sports for entertainment. This is a substantive way to support the hard work of the young athletes who so many of us follow and admire.” 

Last October, the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Board of Governors announced their intention to permit student athletes to profit from the use of their likeness. Prior to the NCAA announcement, California passed a bill that banned in-state schools from preventing athletes from accepting compensation from advertisers. It also allows them to hire agents. Illinois, New York, Florida and now Colorado have introduced bills to allow for athletes to profit from their likeness. 

SB20-123 would prevent higher education institutions in Colorado from upholding any rule, requirement, standard or other limitation that prevents a student athlete of the institution from earning compensation from the use of the athlete’s name, image or likeness. The bill would also prevent collegiate institutions from providing prospective athletes with compensation prior to their signing. 

Additionally, athletes will be able to secure athletic and legal representation, and any compensation the athlete receives cannot affect their eligibility to participate in collegiate sports. Athletes who decide to enter into an endorsement deal would have to let the athletic directors of their institutions know 72 hours after the contract is signed.