Texas lawmakers approve college athlete compensation bill

FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, file photo, Texas players, including Sam Ehlinger (11), sing "The Eyes Of Texas" after an NCAA college football game against Baylor in Austin, Texas. The University of Texas marching band and pep band will be required to play The Eyes of Texas school song when they return to performing, but the school will also create a new band that doesn't include it in its play list, the school has announced. The song has been mired in controversy since summer 2020 when a group of athletes and students called on the school to ditch the tune amid national racial injustice protests after the killing of George Floyd. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)
FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, file photo, Texas players, including Sam Ehlinger (11), sing "The Eyes Of Texas" after an NCAA college football game against Baylor in Austin, Texas. The University of Texas marching band and pep band will be required to play The Eyes of Texas school song when they return to performing, but the school will also create a new band that doesn't include it in its play list, the school has announced. The song has been mired in controversy since summer 2020 when a group of athletes and students called on the school to ditch the tune amid national racial injustice protests after the killing of George Floyd. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas lawmakers on Friday approved letting college athletes earn money with endorsements and sponsorship deals, pushing the state closer to joining others who have already opened the door to previously banned financial deals.

Friday's Senate vote sends the bill to Gov. Greg Abbott to consider signing into law. Several states have already approved measures that allow athletes to earn money off their name, image and likeness. The Texas version would take effect July 1.

Texas has five schools — Texas, Baylor, TCU and Texas Tech in the Big 12, and Texas A&M in the Southeastern Conference — in the so-called Power Five conferences. Supporters of the measure say those schools need the bill to compete for top-level recruits.

The Texas bill would require athletes to take financial literacy courses. Texas would also bar athletes from contracting with particular industries, including alcohol and tobacco products, casino gambling and sexually oriented businesses.

The state-level efforts come as Congress is considering federal measures, and the NCAA considers its own efforts to reform its bylaws to let athletes capitalize on their potential earning power.

The NCAA has warned that a patchwork of state laws would create confusion and competitive inequity. The NCAA Division I Council said it plans to act on name, image and likeness proposals at its June 22-23 meetings with the goal of having them in place by July 1.

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