CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Former Ohio State football and NFL player and current Congressman Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio) is proposing a plan to pay college athletes, ESPN reports.
ESPN staff writer Dan Murphy reported Wednesday Gonzalez is planning to propose a new national law to give college athletes the opportunity to make endorsement money.
Gonzalez represents Ohio’s 16th congressional district in the Cleveland area.
He played wide receiver at Ohio State before being drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in 2007 where he stayed until 2011.
This report comes days after Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a first-in-the-nation law Monday that would allow the state’s college athletes to hire agents and make money from endorsement deals.
California’s law is set to take effect in 2023.
Newsom casts it as an attempt to bring more fairness to big-money college athletics and let players share in the wealth they create for their schools.
ESPN reports the NCAA has said it recognizes the need to change its current rules that don’t allow players to accept money from outside sources, but they’d prefer one nationwide rule rather than state-by-state rules that vary.
Gonzalez told the national sports outlet he believes a federal law is the correct way to move forward.
“I actually think that we need to do something quickly, within the next year,” Gonzalez told ESPN. “I don’t think you have three years to figure this out. I think decisions will start happening immediately.”
The Ohio congressman told Murphy he wants to create legislation that allows athletes the chance to make money while also protecting them from ‘potential bad actors.’
He said there are a lot of people trying to use athletes and don’t have their best interest in mind.
Gonzalez told ESPN he had an informal conversation about his planned proposal with Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith.
Smith is the co-leader of a working group assembled by the NCAA to evaluate ways where the association could change its rules on name, image, and likeness rights, ESPN reports.
The Buckeye’s AD is expected to give a recommendation to the NCAA’s board of governors at the end of October, Murphy says in his article.
ESPN says a similar bill related to name, image, and likeness rights has also been presented to congress by Congressman Mark Walker (R-N.C.).
That bill, Murphy reports, proposes changing the tax code to force the NCAA to allow players to make money from endorsements or risk losing their nonprofit tax exemptions.
Gonzelez told Murphy he thinks his bill will be able to garner bipartisan support when he makes the official proposal int h next few months.
He says he plans to move forward ‘soon’ after Smith and the NCAA make their recommendations, ESPN reports.