Michigan may soon be joining the rising wave of states legislating that collegiate athletes should be able, at the very least, make money off their own likeness.

A hot topic nationally, with states like California leading the way, the legislation would allow student-athletes to receive compensation from a third party in exchange for using any forms of name, likeness or image, which the bill's sponsor say is something any other private citizen can do.

The legislation from state Reps. Brandt Iden (R-Oshtemo) and Joe Tate (D-Detroit) goes after the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) rules on amateurism.

Iden is a former collegiate tennis player at Kalamazoo College. Tate played football at Michigan State and then in the NFL.

“We’re not going to punt on this issue. We’re going to lead,” said Iden. “College sports is a billion-dollar business, but these outdated NCAA rules treat the student-athletes at the heart of that business unfairly. Right now, student-athletes have no liberty when it comes to capitalizing on their own names and images.”

Tate added, “someone can set up a signing at their store and charge $25 per inscription, but the student-athlete providing that signature or inscription gets nothing under current NCAA bylaws. Athletes who are struggling to get by and unable to even have a little walking around money are going to be able to enter into the market through their current craft, and that’s a positive and just development.”

An additional bill sponsored by Tate would also allow agents to enter into contracts with student-athletes, which is currently considered a crime in Michigan.

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