Iowa Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver says the debate over whether college athletes should be able to hire agents and receive payment for the use of their name, image and likeness is an issue lawmakers may examine this summer and fall, RadioIowa.com reports.
“I think if you ask the average person out there: ‘Should athletes be compensated for the use of their likeness?’ I think most people would say they should,” Whitver said, per RadioIowa.com. “The question is: Who should be doing that? Should we be writing a law? Should the NCAA be doing it? Should the federal government do it? How do you do it? When do you do it?”
Whitver expects a Supreme Court ruling this summer to help answer several of those questions.
“This really isn’t a legislative issue,” he said. “It shouldn’t be, but because of the failure to act of the NCAA and the federal government, it’s become a legislative issue. My preference would be the Supreme Court comes out, they kind of give their ruling, the NCAA or the federal government say: ‘OK, this is what we’ve got to do,’ and they do it.”
RadioIowa.com reports that a landmark 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling effectively ended a ban on sports betting, prompting Iowa and many other states to legalize sports wagering.
The Senate Majority Leader — a former walk-on who became a starting wide receiver for the Iowa State Cyclones about 20 years ago — says a Supreme Court ruling on whether college athletes can have greater control and be compensated for the use of the names and images could do the same.
The article states that Whitver was in a version of of the “NCAA Football” video games from Electronic Arts, but it was just his likeness. His name wasn’t used and he wasn’t paid because of NCAA rules.
“Hopefully they can find a solution that just evens the playing field and makes it fair for the athletes to be compensated for their name, image and likeness,” Whitver said.
Whatever solution they find could affect recruiting if it isn’t implemented nationwide with certain boundaries.
“Say an athlete in Florida takes a bunch of money from a booster or from some corporation or someone giving endorsement money. What’s the NCAA going to do? Is he going to eligible or ineligible? And so until we know that, I don’t that it’s affecting recruiting yet, but at some point it will,” Whitever said. “I think we also want to be careful of getting into a situation where it’s really athletes going to the highest bidder of boosters that can give the most money. Kids in high school that have never proven themselves at a college level getting the most money from boosters out there because Iowa and Iowa State specifically, we can’t compete with Texas, Ohio State, Penn State for booster money. We just can’t.”