Bill to pay college athletes passes Georgia General Assembly

010121 ATLANTA: Georgia wide receiver George Pickens (left) celebrates his touchdown reception with Kearis Jackson to tie the game 7-7 with Cincinnati during the first quarter in the NCAA college football Peach Bowl game on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, in Atlanta. Georgia beat Cincinnati 24-21.     Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”
010121 ATLANTA: Georgia wide receiver George Pickens (left) celebrates his touchdown reception with Kearis Jackson to tie the game 7-7 with Cincinnati during the first quarter in the NCAA college football Peach Bowl game on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, in Atlanta. Georgia beat Cincinnati 24-21. Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

College athletes in Georgia could eventually be paid for the use of their name and image, according to a bill approved by the General Assembly on Wednesday.

The measure, House Bill 617, would begin to allow students to earn money, and it prohibits schools from canceling their scholarships for doing so.

But students might not see a windfall anytime soon. The question of whether college students could be paid for their performance, which can earn millions of dollars for their schools, is being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court heard arguments Wednesday on whether the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s rules are allowed to make athletes ineligible if they’re paid.

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“Participating in intercollegiate athletics should not infringe upon the rights of student athletes to have control over and profit from the commercial use of their name, image or likeness,” according to the bill.

Students would have to wait to receive any money. Their compensation would be placed in an escrow account that they couldn’t access until at least a year after graduation or withdrawal.

Colleges would have to conduct a five-hour financial literacy and life skills workshop at the beginning of student athletes’ first and third years. Students would also be allowed to hire agents to negotiate on their behalf.

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Opponents of the measure have said students shouldn’t receive payment besides scholarships related to their education.

The legislation passed 43-8 in the Senate and 163-5 in the House.

The bill now heads to Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature or veto.

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