The state Senate passed the proposed legislation to permit college athletes in Oregon to be compensated for their name, image and likeness starting on July 1 and the legislation now heads to the House.
Senate Bill 5, which also would allow college athletes in Oregon to retain representation related to name, image and likeness opportunities, passed the Senate 23-6 with one member excused Thursday. Senators Lynn Findley, Fred Girod, Bill Hansell, Dallas Heard, Dennis Linthicum and Kim Thatcher, all Republicans, were the dissenting votes and Sen. Bill Kennemer, R-Canby, was excused.
“This isn’t just a bill. … This is a movement,” Sen. Peter Courtney (D-Salem), a co-sponsor of the bill, said in a statement. “Our college athletes have not been treated fairly. They sacrifice their bodies week after week but don’t even earn enough to send their mother a birthday present. Meanwhile, the NCAA and universities make millions off the names, images, and likenesses of their athletes. This bill is about giving back to our athletes what is rightfully theirs.”
If the House passes it as well, the bill will need to be signed by Gov. Kate Brown to go into effect immediately, with Oregon college athletes able to earn NIL compensation beginning July 1, the same day similar laws are to go into effect in five other states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and New Mexico. Thirteen other states also have passed name, image and likeness laws.
Sens. Courtney and James Manning Jr., D-Eugene, are the chief sponsors of the bill and added Sen. Chuck Riley, D-Hillsboro, as a sponsor this week.
“College sports is a billion-dollar industry. Our players deserve their fair share,” Manning said in a statement. “They are promised a ‘free’ education, but there’s nothing free about it. They pay for it by pouring their blood, sweat, and tears onto the field. It’s also an economic fairness issue. The NCAA and universities are profiting off our athletes, many of whom are Black and from low-income households, and preventing them from making any money for themselves. We have an opportunity to really make a difference in the lives of our college athletes.”
Both the University of Oregon and Oregon State University issued statements in support of the amended bill last month.
Federal lawmakers continue efforts to craft a national NIL bill with the goal of passing it before July 1, with various different proposals being circulated. The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on college athlete NIL on Wednesday.
The NCAA Division I Council is expected to address NIL proposals during its June 22-23 meeting.