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July 1, 2021

CT to allow compensation for college athletes

Photo | HBJ File

Connecticut waded into the high-profile debate over paying student athletes this week, with Gov. Ned Lamont signing a bill that would allow college players to be compensated for the use of their name and likeness in paid advertisements.

In a statement, the governor’s office said the new legislation permits Connecticut college athletes to earn money through endorsement contracts and employment. They will also be allowed to hire an attorney or sports agent to represent them.

“For decades, student athletes have been unfairly prevented from being compensated for use of their own image, while other organizations have made billions from the performance of these college students,” Lamont said. “I’m glad to have signed this bill into law and add Connecticut to the growing list of states that say student athletes should be able to be compensated for their talents.”

The new law goes into effect on Sept. 1.

Lamont’s stamp of approval came the same day the National Collegiate Athletic Association reversed its own longstanding policy and said it would adopt a temporary rule allowing players in all three athletic divisions to get paid for the use of their name, image and likeness. Up until this week, the nonprofit had limited the compensation college athletes can receive to scholarships covering the cost of their school’s tuition, a cap frequently denounced by players as unfair.

The NCAA’s position had faced mounting scrutiny over the last two years, as states such as Georgia passed their own laws allowing student athletes to profit from the commercial use of their names and appearances. The organization was dealt another blow last month, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that restrictions on certain education-related payments to athletes violate federal antitrust laws.

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