Conn. Lawmaker Pushes to Allow College Athletes Endorsement Deals - NECN
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Conn. Lawmaker Pushes to Allow College Athletes Endorsement Deals

Currently NCAA rules prohibit college athletes from earning money from things like jersey, autograph or picture sales while playing on a school team.

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    Conn. Lawmaker Pushes to Allow College Athletes Endorsement Deals
    Justin Tafoya/NCAA Photos via Getty Images
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    A state senator says it’s time to let college athletes make money off their abilities.

    Currently NCAA rules prohibit college athletes from earning money from things like jersey, autograph or picture sales while playing on a school team. Sen. Derek Slap, who represents the 5th District, says it’s time for a change.

    “I don’t think anyone believes the NCAA is pure and that money isn’t already a big part of colleges sports. The question now is what’s the fairest way to distribute this,” he said.

    California’s governor just signed into law legislation that allows college athletes to take on product endorsement deals beginning in 2023, without penalty from the NCAA.

    In response the NCAA, which has 1,100 member schools and claims nearly a half-million athletes, said it is working to “make adjustments to NCAA name, image and likeness rules that are both realistic in modern society and tied to higher education.” But it said any such changes should be made at a national level through the NCAA, not through a patchwork of state laws.

    Slap believes it’s time for college athletes in Connecticut to have the same opportunities while they’re at school.

    “They generate $14 billion of economic activity across the country and they are entitled to not one penny of it. So I don’t think that that’s fair.

    Some students were supportive of the idea.

    “It should not be affiliated with the college at all… but they should be able to make money off their likeness just because they’re a human being,” said UConn freshman Aidan Maloney.

    Mike Zanca handles equipment for the UConn football team, and says if the school can make money off the athletes, then the athletes should be able to make money off themselves.

    “It’s like a full time job for them and anything that they sign or any jerseys with their names on it, they should definitely be able to profit in any way possible because it’s their name, it’s their person,” he said.

    NBC Connecticut hasn’t heard back from any colleges or universities with a response to the idea.

    Slap says he’s hopeful that this legislation is something that can come up in the session beginning early next year.