A Washington state representative is proposing legislation that would allow college athletes to be paid.
Under House Bill 1084 – proposed by Rep. Drew Stokesbary (R) – it would be a violation of the Washington State Consumer Protection Act and antitrust laws for the NCAA or an athletic conference to prohibit Washington students from being paid for their services, or to punish the team or school of a paid athlete.
According to a release on the Washington State House Republicans website, the bill would also allow student-athletes to be compensated by any party for services they provide up to fair market value and to retain an agent. Both activities are generally prohibited by existing NCAA rules.
For example, a student-athlete could be paid for appearing in a commercial under the bill.
“The NCAA argues that it shouldn't be subject to antitrust laws because 'amateurism helps ensure that colleges sports remain an integrated component of the scholastic experience,' yet obtaining a paid job during college is a core component of the 'scholastic experience' for most non-athlete students,” Stokesbary said.
Stokesbary also addressed potential criticisms of the bill.
“This legislation does not require a school, or any other party, to pay student-athletes, so it does not threaten 'non-revenue' sports in any way. Furthermore, while the value of an athlete's scholarship is indeed tremendous, the value that many athletes contribute to the NCAA far exceeds their cost of tuition," he said.
"It's simply wrong for the NCAA to leverage the enormous value created by college athletes while systematically denying them the right to share in all the value they create for the NCAA and its member institutions,” Stokesbary continued.
The bill will likely be referred to the House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee, according to the release.
Stokesbary represents Washington’s 31st legislative district, which covers parts of southeastern King County in the western part of the state. He is the House Republican Floor Leader, serves as the lead Republican on the House Appropriations Committee and sits on the House Finance Committee.