Oregon Moves Closer to Allowing Pay for College Athletes

Should college athletes be allowed to earn money from endorsements? California lawmakers said yes last year, and their Oregon counterparts in a rare bit of bipartisanship this week agreed.   

Oregon state senators voted 24-5 in favor of Senate Bill 1501, whichpermits students participating in intercollegiate sports to earn compensation for coaching and for use of name, image or likeness and to retain professional representation or athlete agent.”  

Five Republicans joined 24 Democrats in approving the bill. Five Republicans opposed the measure and one Democrat( Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis) had an excused absence from the chamber and did not vote.   

Not Fair Says Republican Lawmaker  

Sen. Alan Olsen, R-Canby voted no on SB 1501. He told the Statesman Journal that the bill would unfairly favor more well known team members when a team succeeds.   

Most of the time you can’t remember the name of the left guard on the University of Oregon’s football team, but you can certainly remember the name of the quarterback,” Olsen said in an interview with the Statesman Journal.  “But without the left guard, the quarterback is really nothing.”  

Have Nothing to Show For it But a Degree”  

California lifted prohibitions on college athlete endorsements in 2019.University of Oregon senior linebacker Troy Dye spoke in favor of the new rule last September during a team media day.  

“It doesn’t make sense for a guy to go four years, put his whole body out there, get hurt, banged up and have nothing to show for it after that except for a degree, Dye said. “I just think California is doing the right thing and hopefully, the rest of the nation will follow suit.”   

Oregon SB 1501 next moves to the House. If passed there, it will then go to Gov. Kate Brown to sign into law.  The new rule would take effect in 2023.   

By Larry Coonrod