Cunningham introduces bill that would allow college athletes to earn endorsement money


State Senator Sandra Cunningham (D-31) introduced a bill on Thursday that would allow college student-athletes in New Jersey to earn money from endorsements.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Cunningham, along with state Senator Joseph Lagana (D-38), introduced the bill, which would allow college athletes in New Jersey to earn money from the use of their names, images or likenesses.

“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,” Cunningham said in a statement.

“By allowing students to accept endorsements and profit off their likeness, we can put them in control of their future, without having to rely entirely on the goodwill of the school they attend. The time has come for us to stand shoulder to shoulder with our student-athletes and stand up to the NCAA’s outdated, unfair rules.”

The bill’s introduction was reported by

The NCAA currently bars its student-athletes from receiving compensation as a result of the students using their likeness.

But under this bill, the “New Jersey Fair Play Act,” colleges and universities would be prohibited from preventing student-athletes from earning compensation this way, and would also allow them to obtain representation, be it an agent or lawyer.

Their likeness, however, would not be allowed to promote gambling, alcohol, tobacco, etc.

California first made headlines last month when it signed into law similar legislation. Other states are also considering the same, such as Florida, New York and Pennsylvania.

The NCAA has voiced opposition to recent state legislation. In response to California’s enactment, the organization said: “the NCAA agrees changes are needed to continue to support student-athletes, but improvement needs to happen on a national level through the NCAA’s rules-making process.

“Unfortunately, this new law already is creating confusion for current and future student-athletes, coaches, administrators and campuses, and not just in California.”

The New Jersey bill would first have to go through a number of legislative committees before becoming law.


Follow Corey McDonald on Twitter @cwmcdonald_

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