Although the NCAA has backed off its long-held opposition and says it will allow student-athletes to begin being paid for their name, likeness or image, New Jersey lawmakers are still moving forward with a proposed state law to make sure it follows through.

The New Jersey Fair Play Act (S4160/A5863) was endorsed two weeks ago by the Senate Higher Education Committee and is due for a hearing Thursday in the Assembly Higher Education Committee. It would let college athletes earn compensation from endorsements.

“The bill does have some prohibitions against receiving endorsement and payments from what we call the vice industries – tobacco, alcohol, pornography, things like that,” said state Sen. Joe Lagana, D-Bergen, the bill’s lead sponsor.

It is modeled after a California law enacted two months ago. After at least a dozen states proposed similar bills, the NCAA relented and said it would develop rules that allow it. Lagana said New Jersey should move forward to ensure the change is properly made.

“The board of governors voting to change their own internal bylaws to allow it and it actually coming to fruition may – you know, we don’t what the timeline is, and we don’t know what it’s going to end up looking like,” Lagana said.

The NCAA’s rule change might not take effect until 2021. But the proposed New Jersey bill is even further into the future – applicable in the fifth academic year after it is enacted, potentially late 2024.

Lagana said he believes a nationwide standard set by the NCAA would be better than state laws, in the long run.

“I think it could be problematic for 50 states to have 50 different sets of regulations, so I think that ultimately it is going to come down to what the NCAA proposes as being the most appropriate for student-athletes,” he said.

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