Alabama lawmakers weighing in on pay for college athletes

Alabama lawmakers are considering bills on compensation for college athletes, legislation that comes ahead of rules changes expected from the NCAA that will allow players to make money off their name and fame while still competing at the collegiate level.

The bills venture into new territory for college sports, which have limited compensation for athletes to scholarships or cost of attendance in the spirit of maintaining an amateur status.

The changes come in response to rising pressure to give athletes a share of the pie as universities reap lucrative television contracts and pay top football and basketball coaches multi-million dollar salaries.

In October 2019, the NCAA’s board of governors, relying on the study group’s work, voted unanimously to allow student-athletes to receive compensation for name, image, and likeness under certain guidelines.

In January 2021, the NCAA’s Division I Council delayed a decision to adopt new rules, citing, in part, concerns raised by the Department of Justice.

Hatcher’s bill would also create an Historically Black Colleges and Universities name, image, and likeness working group to study the issue make recommendations on the compensation of student athletes at those institutions.

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