Pay-to-play bill passes in Iowa Senate subcommittee

Should it reach final approval, the bill would provide collegiate athletes in Iowa the opportunity to own the rights of their names, image, and likeness.


Ben Allan Smith

The Capitol building in Des Moines is pictured on April 29, 2019.

Robert Read, Sports Editor

A bill that would allow collegiate athletes to own the rights to their name, image, and likeness was unanimously approved by an Iowa Senate subcommittee without amendment Tuesday.

Iowa Sens. Nate Boulton, D-Des Moines, and Brad Zaun, R-Urbandale, introduced Senate File 2058, which will now be considered by the full Senate Education Committee in its next step.

Iowa Sen. Herman Quirmbach, D-Ames, a member of the subcommittee that advanced the bill, said student athletes should have the opportunity to take a share of the revenue they generate for their university.

“I’m generally sympathetic to the athletes,” Quirmbach said. “If their image or their name is used in such a way that creates value, creates income — they should get a share of that income.”

Other subcommittee members Zaun and Sen. Craig Johnson, R-Independence, did not respond to The Daily Iowan’s request for comment by the time of publication.

RELATED: UI Athletics Director Gary Barta talks effects of pay-to-play, sports-betting laws

Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta at an Oct. 29 Faculty Senate meeting said he’s not supportive of student athletes becoming employees of the university or the fact that Iowa Athletics could be at a competitive disadvantage in recruitment compared with other programs that may offer their athletes more money and benefits.

The value of attending the UI in terms of what it provides student athletes is upward of $150,000, according to Barta in a previous DI article.

His remarks came around the time the NCAA Board of Governors unanimously voted to direct each of the NCAA’s three divisions to immediately consider upadating relevant bylaws and policies to allow student athletes to benefit from their name, image, and likeness.

Quirmbach said the scholarship from a university does not provide an athlete with the necessary compensation.

“[The athletes] may get an athletic scholarship, or they may not,” Quirmbach said. “The value of that scholarship in a lot of cases is a lot less than the revenue that they generate for the university. The end result is that for all the revenue that these sports — these entertainment businesses, really — generate, it’s only the coaching staff that gets to collect on that revenue.”

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