NCAA, Wisconsin flip, athletes could get paid

After a stunning reversal from the NCAA, which voted unanimously to allow student athletes to benefit financially from the use of their name, image, or likeness, a bipartisan bill is already being drafted in Wisconsin’s state legislature.

According to a Wisconsin State Journal report, Rep. Dave Murphy, R-Greenville, chairman of the Assembly Colleges and Universities Committee, is spearheading the bill, with likely support from Rep. Katrina Shankland, D-Stevens Point. The bill circulating differs from an earlier law passed in California in three areas: limiting the influence of money in the recruitment process; third-party involvement that could circumvent rules regarding payment to athletes; and protecting competitive agreements any university might have, requiring athletes to notify universities prior to signing an agreement.

Following California’s passage of a “Fair Pay to Play” law, UW–Madison Athletic Director Barry Alvarez came out against the law, as did many college officials at the time, saying he was “very concerned” about the impact it would have on college sports.

A 2019 economic impact analysis from Econsult Solutions of Philadelphia suggests UW Athletics brings an estimated $610 million into the state.

UW Athletics have yet to respond to this latest announcement from the NCAA except to say it supports the Big Ten and the NCAA and “looks forward” to working with both as rules are developed.

The NCAA directed its three divisions to update policies by 2021, but at the earliest, Wisconsin’s law wouldn’t affect athletes until at least mid-2023.