BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) – Louisiana lawmakers are joining a national effort to allow student athletes to be paid for their image and likeness being used in sponsorships.
If Senate Bill 60 is passed, student athletes will be able to enter into sponsorship agreements with third party entities. They can hire their own agents and partner with the schools to use their logos.
Senator Patrick Connick said students deserve to be able to make a living off of the money they bring in through their hard work in their sports and the sponsorships that could come from it.
“The students put in the time, they put in the work and the schools make millions of dollars off their efforts and image and likeness. This is just giving them back something for their work. It’s a nationwide wave and we’re going to be part of the process and leading the way,” Senator Connick said.
Students will be able to hire agents licensed in Louisiana to work out sponsorship deals. The university can’t pay the students directly to comply with the amaeture aspect of college sports, but scholarships will not be altered.
“It’s a hands off from the universities, it allows students to be an open and owned business, open their own company and do what they need to do to earn a living,” Senator Connick said.
This is part of a national movement to push the NCAA to make a federal change on how athletes can cash in on using their image.
“I got a call from a gentleman in New Jersey. He called me and said my daughter is a gymnast at LSU, she has 5 million followers on instagram,” Senator Connick said. “It’s Olivia Dunn, she’s an lsu gymnast. This would allow that young woman to market her name, market her image, market LSU.”
Schools like LSU can work out deals with students to allow them to use the school colors and logos in their promotions. Representatives from the LSU athletics department came to show support for the bill and Tulane and Southern Universities were mentioned to also be in support. It would greatly impact the high-profile student athletes. The lesser known ones may not be able to get the sponsorships.
“It’s across the board. we’re not taking a percentage,” Senator Connick said. “I think in Georgia they’re taking a percentage of the student’s earnings and sharing it with the other students. We’re not doing that.”
The bill cleared the Senate Finance Committee with the schools stating they will not need money from the general fund for this effort. There was a fiscal note of potentially hiring on staff at LSU to oversee the new law and to make sure student sponsorships are in compliance. The schools would potentially absorb those costs.
Senator Connick said Louisiana schools will become more competitive to gain quality athletes with this bill. He said the state needs to make its own rules for athletes as the NCAA looks at its own changes. The bill now heads to the Senate floor.