University of Georgia tailback D’Andre Swift picks up yardage against Kentucky in an NCAA college football game Saturday in Athens. State Rep. Billy Mitchell, D-Stone Mountain, is proposing a bill modeled on similar legislation in California that would allow college athletes to be paid. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Bill seeks to pay college athletes in Georgia

A bill being introduced in the Georgia General Assembly would allow college athletes to be paid.

The legislation, modeled on a similar bill recently signed into law in California, calls for college athletes to be compensated for the use of their name, image or likeness.

The NCAA’s rules prohibit players from accepting compensation from outside sources, but state laws in California and elsewhere in the nation could ease that restriction. Similar bills to pay college athletes are being introduced in states including Florida, Minnesota, New York and South Carolina.

“Not only is this an idea whose time has come, but Georgia schools would be at a decisive disadvantage when it comes to recruiting with other states that join California in implementing this act if we fail to do the same,” said state Rep. Billy Mitchell, a Democrat from Stone Mountain who is sponsoring the legislation.

The bill would also allow players to hire agents to represent them and prohibit schools from removing athletes’ eligibility because they earn money.

The legislation could be considered in the 2020 session of the General Assembly, which begins in January.

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