Fair Pay to Play Act gets big majority vote from Nebraska senators

Nebraska Fair Pay to Play Act would give athletes the ability to profit off of their likeness.
Nebraska Fair Pay to Play Act would give athletes the ability to profit off of their likeness.(KOLNKGIN)
Published: Feb. 25, 2020 at 6:29 PM CST
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A bill to give college athletes the ability to profit off of their name, image and likeness passed through General Filing with a 36-4 vote.

Sen. Megan Hunt prioritized Legislative Bill 962 this session because she wants to get college athletes on the same level as college students.

The bill would not pay them for their play on the playing surface, but for what they do off of it. This would include doing social media sponsorships and giving private lessons during the offseason.

"We've received a lot of support from athletes all over the state," Sen. Hunt said, "We had several athletes testify in committee in support of this bill."

The bill will allow all college athletes to sign licensed agents that and would protect them from receiving compensation. If a college or university were to punish a college athlete for collecting compensation, they could seek damages and injunctive relief.

Sen. Hunt said Nebraska should be a leader on this bill because of its traditions with Husker athletics.

"The Nebraska Husker football team has the NCAA record for the consecutive sold-out games at Memorial Stadium," Sen. Hunt said, "Nebraska should be a leader on this. We support our athletes. We're sports fans. We want them to have the same rights as everyone else."

Opponents of the bill said it will turn into a bidding war with athletes choosing schools based on who will give them the most money. Sen. Hunt said it's time for athletes to start profiting off their work in the community.

"I trust student-athletes, who are adults, to make good financial decisions," Sen. Hunt said, "And we should open up the doors to support themselves and their families and earn a wage for what they do."

The bill still needs to go through another round of public debate before it gets to Gov. Pete Ricketts' desk. The Governor's office told 10/11 NOW it did not take an official stance but will be closely "monitoring the bill'.