116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
In a new era allowing college athletes to receive education-related compensation and make money off their name, image and likeness, an Iowa lawmaker is looking to empower the state Board of Regents to “fix the compensation for student athletes” at its public universities.
Through a bill introduced Thursday, Rep. Bruce Hunter, D-Des Moines, is proposing the state define as a public university employee “an individual who is enrolled at the institution and participates in an intercollegiate sport for the institution.”
Doing so would give regents authority to “fix their compensation,” like they do for their campus presidents, treasurers, professors, and other employees.
“This bill provides that a student-athlete at an institution under the control of the State Board of Regents is considered an employee of an institution of the State Board of Regents,” according to the proposal. “The bill also provides that the State Board of Regents fix the compensation for student athletes.”
By defining student-athletes as employees, according to the measure, other compensation and benefit provisions governing university employees would apply to their athletes, too. The proposal doesn’t detail how, specifically, athlete compensation would be governed or fixed.
Before and since the U.S. Supreme Court over the summer blocked the NCAA from barring athlete compensation for educational benefits — allowing for paid internships, tutoring and equipment and opening the door for student-athletes to start profiting off their name, image, and likeness — states have enacted a patchwork of laws differentiating the degree of earnings players can rake in.
Some states, like New Mexico, have laws helping athletes make money off their fame, while others, like Mississippi, have laws hindering revenue generation. Such laws include caps on how much an athlete can make, limits on what they can accept, restrictions on how they can generate revenue, and penalties for violations.
Iowa is among 22 states without a name, image and likeness law. Other states with campuses in the University of Iowa’s Big Ten Conference that don’t have name, image, and likeness laws include Wisconsin and Minnesota. States with campuses in the Big 12 — like Iowa State — that don’t have laws include Kansas and West Virginia.
In a state-by-state ranking of name, image, and likeness-friendly laws, the National College Players Association gave Illinois and Oklahoma among the lowest scores and Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska and New Jersey among the highest.
Analysts have opined that varying laws affecting college athlete compensation — depending on the state — could affect recruiting in some of the bigger, revenue-generating sports.
Vanessa Miller covers higher education for The Gazette.
Comments: (319) 339-3158; email@example.com