Bill to pay college athletes filed in Alabama Legislature

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — A bill that would allow college athletes to be paid for competing in their respective sports has now been filed in the Alabama Legislature.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Kirk Hatcher, D-Montgomery, is called the “Fair Pay to Play” bill and would allow college athletes to profit off their names and image. The bill would also prevent schools, conferences and athletic associations from penalizing athletes from receiving compensation. 

However, not everyone supports the bill.

“To be fair to the other students, I think a stipend would be fair,” said Bronson Elliott Woods, a pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Montgomery.

Woods said he didn’t want to see college athletes put on a payroll.

“First of all, they get the scholarship, right, that pays for the tuition and the room and board,” he said.

This is a topic that comes up a lot among Kelsey Sheppard and his colleagues at First Place Barbershop.

“How much do you want to give a 18, 19, 20 year-old, outside of a $40,000 scholarship,” Sheppard said. “So when you bring money into it, its almost like making them a type of professional.”

In 2019, the NCAA’s top governing board voted unanimously to allow athletes to be compensated, although those details are still being worked out. In September, California became the first state to make it easy for student athletes to profit off their names.

Last week, lawmakers in Congress urged the NCAA to move quickly on rules for compensating college athletes.

If approved, the measure would become active in 2023.


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