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Pennsylvania legalizes compensation for college athletes

  • The Associated Press
The seating area at Bankers Life Fieldhouse is empty as media and staff mill about, Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Indianapolis, after the Big Ten Conference announced that remainder of the men's NCAA college basketball games tournament was cancelled.

Michael Conroy / AP Photo

The seating area at Bankers Life Fieldhouse is empty as media and staff mill about, Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Indianapolis, after the Big Ten Conference announced that remainder of the men's NCAA college basketball games tournament was cancelled.

(Harrisburg) — Gov. Tom Wolf has signed legislation to allow college athletes in Pennsylvania to start earning money based on their fame and celebrity without fear of sanctions from their school or athletic association.

Pennsylvania, as a result, joins a growing number of states, including Texas and Florida, that are paving the way for athletes to make money based on their athletic exploits.

Pennsylvania’s law was signed Wednesday, the same day the NCAA changed its policy.

Under the state’s law, schools and athletic leagues cannot sanction college athletes for being paid royalties for sales of team jerseys, college team video games or college team trading cards. College athletes can also hire financial advisers, lawyers or agents to negotiate contracts on their behalf.

Athletes must report the contracts to their schools and Pennsylvania’s law puts limits on what athletes can do.

For instance, college athletes in Pennsylvania can’t earn compensation in connection with adult entertainment, alcohol, casinos, gambling, betting, tobacco, vaping, prescription drugs or illegal drugs.

Pennsylvania’s law also allows schools to prohibit an athlete’s compensation from activities they deem to conflict with “existing institutional sponsorship arrangements” or “institutional values.”

Meanwhile, schools and athletic leagues can’t be required to help student-athletes earn compensation.

The NCAA’s stopgap measure came less than two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the association in a case involving education-related benefits.

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