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Georgia, South Carolina governors sign bills to pay college athletes

Georgia, South Carolina governors sign bills to pay college athletes
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The governors of South Carolina and Georgia on Thursday signed bills to legalize the practice of students earning money for the use of their name, image or likeness.

The bills, which would open the door to college athletes in the state being paid for their performance on the court or in the field, would also prevent schools from rescinding scholarships in light of compensation opportunities for student athletes.

Atlanta news affiliate WSB-TV 2 reported that Georgia's governor, Brian KempBrian KempNorth Carolina county reverses course, ends coke machine ban MLB All-Star game to stay in Denver, judge rules MLB calls lawsuit over All-Star Game 'political theatrics' MORE (R), joked during a signing ceremony Thursday that the legislation would attract the kind of student athletic talent to Georgia needed for University of Georgia to win a national championship.

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“Simply put, college athletes should be fairly compensated for use of name, image and likeness. As alumni myself, I’m a little biased, but think this will give Coach [Kirby] Smart every bit of help he needs to bring home a national championship, but that’s my own personal opinion,” he quipped.

Jere Morehead, president of the University of Georgia and a member of the NCAA's board of directors, added that he expected the federal government to step in and address the issue at a national level at some point as more and more states pass laws legalizing the practice of paying student athletes.

“Where we’re headed, you’ll see more and more states do what Georgia’s done today, and wouldn’t surprise me to see a federal solution at some point down the road,” he said, according to WSB-TV 2.

In South Carolina, a spokesman for the Gov. Henry McMaster (R) also painted the issue as one of competition for the best student athletes.

“The governor’s proud to have signed this bill into law to ensure that South Carolina’s colleges and universities are well-positioned to immediately take advantage of opportunities provided by either the NCAA or congressional action,” the spokesperson told the Post and Courier.