COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
A Missouri House committee will hear testimony Monday on three bills that would establish regulations to potential pay for college athletes.
The House of Representatives General Laws Committee will consider the bills at its noon meeting in the Capitol.
The three bills prohibit any groups with authority over the intercollegiate athletics, including the NCAA, from preventing a student from earning compensation for their name, image, likeness rights or athletic reputation.
"College sports is a $14 billion a year industry," said Ramogi Huma, the National College Players Association's executive director. "It's highly commercialized off the talents of these players. When you look at regular students, when you look at American citizens they all have the freedom economically to go out and pursue whatever the free market has for them and college athletes should also have the same opportunities as well."
State Rep. Nick Schroer (R-O'Fallon) and Rep. Wes Rogers (D-Kansas City) sponsored identical bills that would prohibit requirements that athletes advertise certain products during official team events.
"Well, I think it's important that Missouri College Athletes have the same rights and freedoms that are making their ways to players in 28 different states," said Huma. "I think the state committee here was very positive and so we're hopeful, but I think it can open up opportunities for not just football and basketball."
This bill would also set limits on team activities -- not exceed 20 hours per week during the season and eight hours per week during the off-season.
"When you become aware of the vast amount of money sports generate and how little of it makes it's way to the players it's extremely unfair," said Thomas Kruckemeyer, a supporter of the bill. "I think if people were aware of the dimensions of the unfairness there'd be more interest in finding some way to make the system operate more equitably."
Rep. Vic Allred (R-Parkville) filed a bill that would limit student-athletes from a paid contract that conflicts with a provision of the athlete's team's contracts.
This bill also creates a "community college athlete name, image and likeness working group," which would be asked to present a report of findings to the Missouri Community College Atheltic Conference and the General Assembly on or before Dec. 1, 2021.
"When I became knowledgable about this back in the '90s and studied it," said Kruckemeyer. "Like anybody else that followed college sports, I kinda figured well the compensation that they got in form of a scholarship was sort of a fair trade, but over the years the revenues that accrue in the major college sports program is because it's so ginormous that it's become increasingly unfair."
The bills are responses to an NCAA ruling last fall that said the organization intends to allow college athletes to start earning money from their name, image and likeness. The details, however, are being worked out.
Check back for updates to this developing story or watch ABC 17 News at 5 and 6.