State senator vows to fight for across the board pay for college athletes

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By: Capitol News Service
November 13, 2019

Photo: US Air Force

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- Buckling under pressure from California, Florida and other states, the NCAA has agreed to allow student athletes to be paid for use of their image and likeness, but some Florida lawmakers are hoping to take the idea to the next level.

“At the end of the day it's about fairness,” said Governor Ron DeSantis during the October press conference where he announced support for legislation that would allow college athletes to profit from their image.

But at least one Florida Senator believes the state should push even further.

“The abundant revenues generated from the participation of these athletes should entitle them to direct compensation,” said Senator Randolph Bracy during a press conference Wednesday.

Bracy, a former college basketball player, said all athletes should be compensated for their work regardless of their sport.

“We need to go further. I mean they literally generate more than a billion dollars a year,” said Bracy.

The Senator said he’d prefer all college athletes be paid the same, but is open to other pay schemes as well.

But the idea is a step too far for FSU Sport Management Professor Dr. Jason Pappas.

“To me that's where I'm thinking, 'Wow, isn't that called professional sports?'” said DR. Pappas.

Even FSU President John Thrasher was quick to shoot the idea down when asked if he would jump behind Bracy’s proposal.

“No, no. I'm looking for a football coach,” Thrasher jokingly responded.

Whether paying college athletes actually gains traction, allowing them to profit from their image, which has bipartisan support, will likely move forward just in case the NCAA changes its mind.

Senator Bracy said either way, he’ll try to make athlete pay a part of that conversation.

“It's time to talk about them sharing in that profit model and so that what I'm here to do, to push the issue,” said Bracy.

Republicans were notably absent during Bracy’s press conference.