Arkansas House Advances Bill Allowing College Athletes To Earn Money From Name, Likeness
A bill that would allow collegiate athletes in Arkansas to enter into contracts and earn money off of their name, voice, signature, photograph or likeness is on its way to the Senate. On Monday, members of the House approved House Bill 1671 by a vote of 97-1.
Under the legislation, athletes in higher education institutions in Arkansas would be allowed to enter contracts and receive "compensation for the commercial use of the student athlete’s publicity rights." Entering into such contracts would not strip students of their scholarships, nor does it enable a higher education institutions to pay students to play collegiate sports.
In presenting the bill, House Speaker Matthew Shepherd, R-El Dorado, said other states are already considering similar legislation, including a law Florida passed last year that is set to go into effect this July.
"Given the fact that we, if we fail to act at this point, it may be two years before we have this opportunity again," Shepherd said. "I think for the sake of our student athletes here in the state and for our institutions of higher education, the time is now for Arkansas to go ahead and enact this legislation."
No House member spoke against the legislation, which now goes to the Senate Education Committee.