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Gov. Parson signs bill allowing student-athlete compensation

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)

Gov. Michael Parson signed a wide-ranging bill that will in part allow student-athletes to be paid during a ceremony Thursday at the Missouri Capitol.

Senate Bill 718 will help college athletes in Missouri profit off their name, image and likeness by allowing coaches and athletic departments to help students find opportunities to make money. This bill also has nine other education-related provisions.

Currently, a college or university must hold a financial development program for a student-athlete that wants to profit off their name, image, and likeness. The current law requires the program to include information about financial aid, debt management, and a recommended budget for the student-athlete. The program must also include information about time management skills.

The law prevents schools from acting as agents for student-athletes, receiving compensation from student-athletes or a third party, or attempting to influence their choice.

Mizzou football Coach Eli Drinkwitz, basketball Coach Dennis Gates and Athletic Director Desiree Reed-Francois were all present at the bill signing, shaking hands with the governor and lawmakers who put together this omnibus bill.

The bill, originally created to designate the third week of September as Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week, was introduced by Rep. Barbara Washington (D-Kansas City). During the legislative session, the bill was expanded to allow amendments related to all areas of education.

"As a former athlete at Mizzou, I had several friends who didn't have enough money to wash their clothes," Washington said.

Owner of Horns Down Shop, an online college sports merchandise store that works with athletes, Jesse Cox said he supports the new law as a way to connect with more schools and for more athletes to find ways to make money.

"I had a player that called and wanted to get his girlfriend a present, a birthday present, and he was like, 'Can you advance me $40 that you're going to pay me in a month?'" Cox said. "And the kid was asking for $40, I was kinda shocked like that's how much he's strapped."

The bill does nine other things relating to education:

  • Designates the third week of September as Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week
  • Creates a tax credit for people serving as a community-based faculty preceptors for medical students
  • Changes the law regarding dual credit courses so eligible students are reimbursed 50% of tuition and removes the $500 cap for reimbursement
  • Requires the Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development to aid students seeking career and technical education
  • Requires K-12 public schools to offer computer science courses and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to create a Computer Science Task Force
  • Creates a Workforce Diploma Program under DESE
  • Requires schools to provide students 7th through 12th grade with the number to a suicide prevention hotline
  • Requires Missouri public colleges and universities to accept credit hours for students who earn a 3 or higher on Advanced Placement exams
  • Establishes bankruptcy protection for the Missouri Education Savings Program and the Missouri Higher Education Deposit Program

"There are a lot of good provisions in this bill that's helping everyday students out there to be better and I don't want to get that lost in the headlines," Parson said.

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Ben Fein

Ben Fein is a multimedia journalist for ABC 17 News. You can usually see his reports on weekend mornings or weekdays at 5, 6 and 6:30 p.m. on KMIZ.

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Hannah Falcon

Hannah joined the ABC 17 News Team from Houston, Texas, in June 2021. She graduated from Texas A&M University. She was editor of her school newspaper and interned with KPRC in Houston. Hannah also spent a semester in Washington, D.C., and loves political reporting.

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