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South Carolina lawmakers approve bill allowing college athletes to make money from names, images

South Carolina lawmakers approve bill allowing college athletes to make money from names, images
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The South Carolina State House on Wednesday passed a bill that would allow college athletes to be paid for the use of their names and images, sending the legislation to the governor's desk for final approval.

The bill, if signed by Gov. Henry McMaster (R), would allow South Carolina college athletes to cash in on the use of their name, image or likeness from outside organizations, including autograph sessions, guest appearances, sponsorships or other events, according to The Associated Press.

The legislation says that athletes can not be compensated for endorsements of tobacco, alcohol, illegal substances or activities, in addition to gambling.

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Additionally, the bill, if signed into law, will allow college athletes to obtain an athlete agent, who must be registered with the state government, to help them secure the financial compensations they are eligible for.

The legislation cleared the House with large support in a 103 to 15 vote. The state Senate approved the legislation earlier this month in a close 22 to 21 vote.

Supporters of the bill are pushing for the legislation to be considered quickly as nearby states, which South Carolina college athletes compete against, are close to enacting similar measures, according to the AP.

Additionally, the state is under pressure to consider the bill quickly because Florida’s law allowing college athletes to be compensated takes effect this summer, the AP reported.

Athletic department leaders at Clemson, South Carolina and other institutions support the bill, according to the wire service.

If approved by McMaster, the law would take effect next year. According to the AP, that schedule allows time to see if Congress or the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) settles the matter.

The debate surrounding whether or not college athletes should be paid has been at the forefront of conversation for some time.

Last month, the Supreme Court appeared skeptical of the restrictions the NCAA places on education-related benefits that colleges can extend to student athletes. The justices questioned the NCAA’s argument that the limits in place are important to protect amateurism which they said differentiate collegiate athletes from professional sports.