Gainey, Miller applaud U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing college athletes to be paid

Lawmakers say legislature should vote on Pa.’s Fair Pay for Play Act

HARRISBURG, June 22 – A U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this week has further opened the door for college athletes across the country to be compensated for their work, state Reps. Ed Gainey and Dan Miller noted. The two Allegheny County Democrats have sponsored the Fair Pay for Play Act, which would allow college athletes to earn money for their athletic efforts and is designed to keep Pennsylvania colleges competitive nationwide.

In a unanimous decision, SCOTUS ruled that the NCAA could not bar payments to student athletes. And while the ruling only applies to payments and other benefits related to educational needs, the language used in the decision suggests that the high court could challenge the NCAA policy prohibiting student athletes from profiting off their performance, name, image or likenesses. You can read the full decision here.

“The NCAA is a billion-dollar industry thanks to the college athletes that bring in money for their schools. Yet, they are prohibited from doing something as simple as using their own name to make money from their efforts,” Gainey said. “I applaud the Supreme Court’s ruling, which notes that the NCAA has been getting away with not paying their workers for decades, something that you would never see anywhere else in this country. It’s time for that to change, and it can start with the General Assembly passing the Fair Pay for Play Act.”

Gainey and Miller’s legislation, known officially as H.B. 632, would allow college athletes in Pennsylvania to sign endorsement deals, earn compensation for their name, image and likeness, and sign licensing contracts that would allow them to earn money. It would also allow them to hire professional representation, like agents, to manage their contracts and finances.

“It’s no secret -- the massive profits that schools and the NCAA collect off the hard work of student athletes far outweigh the current compensation and protections extended to them, with disproportionate effects on our athletes of color,” Miller said. “The court’s ruling is a step towards correcting this wrong and paves the way for our bill to offer greater financial opportunity and security for these athletes.”

To date, California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey and Nebraska have passed similar legislation. The Fair Pay to Play Act is currently sitting in the House Education Committee awaiting further action.