Louisiana Senate supports college athletes making money from endorsements

By: - May 18, 2021 10:00 am

A handful of states has already moved to change their laws to allow student athletes to receive compensation based on their name, image or likeness, including Louisiana, Florida and Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Olivia Dunne, a star gymnast at LSU, began her freshman year in the fall with over a million followers on Instagram, which means, according to a report from a digital media-focused company called Cheq, she could make up to $250,000 per post.

But by the current collegiate athletic rules, even if Dunne made money off of her social media platform before she came to LSU, she — like thousands of others across the country — isn’t allowed to make any money as a student-athlete.

“Throughout her freshman year, she continued to post and be very careful about what she posted and how she posted it,” D-D Breaux, a former gymnastics coach for LSU, said to lawmakers in April.

But Dunne and other Louisiana student athletes may be one step closer in being allowed to make money off of endorsement and advertisement deals, defying the NCAA’s current amateur-status rules.

Sen. Patrick Connick’s (R-Marrero) SB 60, which would allow college athletes in Louisiana to receive “compensation for the use of the athlete’s name, image, or likeness” while maintaining their amateur status passed unanimously in the Louisiana Senate Monday.

“This bill is going to be life-changing to a lot of folks, in a good way,” Connick said to the Senate floor.

The bill would prohibit college athletes from making money off endorsements of tobacco, alcohol, illegal substances or activities, banned athletic substances or any form of sports betting. Colleges and universities can also keep one of their athletes from making money if they’re advertising something that conflicts with the school’s “existing institutional sponsorship agreements or contracts” or “institutional values.”

Significantly, the Senate added an amendment that would allow the university boards to make up the policies for how their student athletes get paid. The amendment doesn’t set a deadline for when the board would have to develop such policies.

Connick said from the floor of the Senate that there are already 15 states that have passed similar legislation and about 25 others that are “in the process of making this legislation law.”

The lack of pay for college athletes has been a national debate for decades. David Berri, a sports economist at Southern Utah University, said Heisman-winning quarterback Joe Burrow was worth $3,864,611.91 to LSU, but could make nothing in endorsements and ads during his time at the school because of collegiate amateur status rules.

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JC Canicosa
JC Canicosa

JC Canicosa is a former Louisiana Illuminator reporter. Prior to working with the Illuminator, Canicosa worked for Investigate-TV and The Loyola Maroon. Canicosa earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Loyola University New Orleans. At Loyola, he was the senior staff writer at The Maroon and the president of the school's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Off the clock, Canicosa enjoys playing basketball, watching movies and dabbling in comedy writing.