Assw. Solages Introduces the New York Collegiate Athletic Participation Compensation Act in the Assembly

Solages champions collegiate athletic pay bill in the Assembly

Albany, NY — Today, Assemblywoman Michaelle C. Solages announces that she joins the campaign for pay equity in collegiate sports as the Assembly sponsor of the New York Collegiate Athletic Participation Compensation Act.

This legislation gives athletes at New York’s public and private colleges the right to their name, image, and likeness, thus allowing them to earn income from their athletic talent. No other category of students is prohibited from earning income from their skill or talent; however, due to NCAA restrictions, only student-athletes are prohibited.

“The case for the bill is quite simple: in a modern society, we should not be debating whether student-athletes, whose talents have heavily contributed to a multi-billion dollar industry, deserve to be compensated for their labor. That debate is over. Now we must shift the conversation to how to best ensure that all students are able to benefit from this economic activity,” Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages declared.

“It is unfair for students to struggle financially while their athletic ability is a source of income solely for the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) and the colleges and universities they attend,” said Senator Kevin Parker. “Receiving a scholarship should not be the basis to deny athletes further compensation especially when many of them come from traditionally marginalized and distressed Black and Brown communities where making ends meet is a day- to-day dilemma. I am proud to have the support of Assembly Member Michaelle Solages in the Assembly to make this legislation a reality for NYS student athletes.”

This proposed legislation would significantly transform the broken pay-for-play system that disproportionately impacts African-American and female college athletes as well as those from low-income households. For some students, college can be the only avenue, if given the opportunity, for student-athletes to profit from their special abilities. According to the NCAA recruiting facts, very few high school students are able to attain an athletic scholarship to play collegiate-level sports. In fact, only about 2 percent of high school athletes are awarded some form of athletics scholarship to compete in college. Moreover, fewer than 2 percent of NCAA student-athletes go on to work as professional athletes.

“Whether we are discussing the star running back of a university or a college gymnast, this legislation is about equity. For decades, terms like ‘student-athlete’ and ‘amateurism’ have been used to justify an archaic pay structure that leaves out the rank and file college athletes while the NCAA and colleges earn billions through corporate sponsorships and media. We must shift this dynamic to be more inclusive of those whose labor generates that wealth. I am thankful for the partnership of Senator Kevin Parker and I look forward to working with him to champion this measure throughout the legislature,” concluded Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages.

Assembly Bill A8620 will allow New York student-athletes to receive compensation for the use of their image, likeness and name without the loss of their scholarships. If signed into New York State law, the legislation will also direct 15 percent of the school’s entire sports revenue from tickets, merchandise, and investments to be evenly divided and distributed to student-athletes and simultaneously create a fund for injured players.