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Oregon Senate votes to allow student athletes the chance to get paid

California passed a similar bill in September, defying the will of the NCAA and opening the door for other states to do the same.

Posted: Feb 18, 2020 1:42 PM

SALEM, Ore. — A bill passed by the Oregon Senate on Monday would allow student athletes to legally accept payment for their work through endorsement deals and by hiring agents.

California passed a similar bill into law last September despite resistance from the NCAA, with the law slated to go into effect in 2023. That bill seemed to have broken the proverbial dam as other states looked to do the same.

The NCAA reportedly voted to allow student compensation in October.

“We see images of student athletes in video games. We see student athletes in marketing materials for colleges and universities. These student athletes, who are putting in the work and sacrifice, do not see a dime of those profits,” said Senator Shemia Fagan, D-Portland. “These students make a substantial commitment of their time, and too often they struggle to afford their basic needs. They deserve more than simply recognition, they deserve to get a fair share of the profit their work creates.”

Under Senate Bill 1501, student athletes would maintain ownership of their names, images, likenesses, and would protect them from retaliation when they seek or receive compensation. The bill also mandates that certain students be paid the market rate for coaching jobs.

“These student athletes give everything to their school and their sport,” said Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem. “They are the single best marketers for their institutions. It’s time that their contributions are recognized in a substantial way. I am very proud Oregon is joining California in this movement for student athletes.”

SB 1501 passed 24-5, with a handful of Republicans voting against, including Senate Republican Leader Herman Baertschiger, R-Grants Pass. In a letter issued Monday, Sen. Baertschiger admonished Sen. Courtney for introducing legislation that was not in the "true intent" of a short session.

“I propose that we focus on the true intent of the short session and work on the budgets, emergencies, and fixes to other legislation. We need to live up to the intent of the short session that Oregonians voted for," Baertschiger said. "When we have completed the intent of the short session, then we could move on to other more controversial legislation, that we may or may not come to an agreement on, but at least we would have finished the people’s business.”

The bill now goes on to Oregon's House of Representatives for their consideration and vote. 

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