A bill passed in the Senate last month would create a commission, named by leaders in the House and Senate, to oversee the treatment of student athletes attending state universities.
The Legislative Commission on the Fair Treatment of College Student-Athletes would be put in place to study, and recommend legislation that would be needed to ensure that student athletes are treated fairly in terms of being able to balance their education with playing sports, in regards to health insurance, and in injury recovery.
What may be the most controversial piece of the bill is a section that gives the commission purview over studying profit-sharing for student athletes.
In the bill, one of the 12 areas that the commission would be tasked with studying and reporting on would be the “consideration of remuneration or profit sharing for student athletes for the use by institutional or commercial entities of the students’ image.”
Battles in the courts over what rights college athletes have to a share of the profits of televised events they compete in or when their images are used in video games has been a point of contention for years, with some courts awarding millions of dollars to college athletes while higher courts have stepped in and blocked those rulings.
The commission would be formed at the start of the new fiscal year, with six members being named from the House and Senate each, and the 13th member being the lieutenant governor, who would serve as the chair of the commission.
The commission would make its first report in December and then would make a full report by April 2018.
The commission would automatically terminate at the convening of the 2019 legislative session, or when it finishes its final report.