Iowa Legislators Plan To Draft Bill To Pay College Athletes

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Should college athletes be paid? That’s a question many sport fans, athletes, coaches, and institutions have battled with for years. Currently, the NCAA rules and regulations state athletes can not profit in any way related to their sport, but that might change in Iowa.

The passing of the California Fair Pay to Play act in September ignited a trend across the country with multiple states following suit. Now two Iowa state legislators have jumped in on the action. 

Representatives Joe Mitchell (R) and Ras Smith (D) are working together to draft a similar bill. They are also planning on reaching out to local universities for input on its content.

“Right now currently college athletes, can't use their brand, their image, or their name to contract with a private business to make money like me or you could, because they signed a contract with the university and NCAA that says they can't do that,” said Mitchell.

The argument is that universities make millions of dollars, profiting on prominent student athletes that drive ticket sales and media contracts for schools to appear on sports broadcasting networks like ESPN. 

“Nate Stanley who's the quarterback of University of Iowa’s football team, you know single handedly is bringing in hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars for the school himself,” said Mitchell. 

We reached out to multiple universities for comment including: Iowa State University, University of Iowa, and University of Northern Iowa and they each declined to comment.

Brian Hardin, director of athletics at Drake University said he wasn’t too worried during an interview on the “Murph and Andy Show”. Mostly because he feels that those types of student athletes tend to choose athletic programs at universities like Iowa State and University of Iowa.

“There’s a certain student athlete that’s always going to want to go to a school like Drake. Those that understand there’s a 40 year decision not a four year decision of where you go to college, the name and image likeness piece could have an impact, but I don’t see it impacting those too much,” said Hardin.

Representatives Mitchell and Smith are planning on introducing the bill when the general assembly reconvenes in January.

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