Legislation That Put TN Public Universities at Odds with NCAA Fizzles For Now

Category: State Issues

Representative Antonio Parkinson (D-Memphis) again filed a bill this year seeking to pay student athletes at public universities upon graduation. Senator Reginald Tate (D-Memphis) served as the Senate sponsor of the legislation and sent the bill to General Subcommittee this morning.

Sending a bill to “General Sub” typically means the bill will not be heard unless the sponsor requests the bill be placed on a calendar sometime in the future.  The Senate Education Committee is currently considering their final calendar, meaning the legislation is most likely off notice for the remainder of the legislative session.

The bill essentially created a compensation system for graduating student athletes participating in NCAA Division I sports at TN public universities. It would have required athletics programs to set aside one percent of their yearly gross revenue beginning in 2016 for a ‘student athlete graduation grant fund’.  That fund would dole out awards up to $50,000 for Tier 1 athletes (football, track & field, basketball and baseball) and up to $25,000 for athletes in other sports.

The bill placed public Tennessee universities with Division I teams in direct violation of NCAA rules, rendering their student athletes ineligible to participate.

The University of Tennessee opposed the legislation.

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