Rutgers Penn St Football

Rutgers running back Isaih Pacheco looks to elude Penn State safety Garrett Taylor (17) during an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. — AP Photo/Barry Reeger

Some New Jersey lawmakers want college athletes to be able to earn money from their success in sports.

The Fair Play Act, passed by the state Senate on Monday, would allow players to strike endorsement deals using their name, image, or likeness.

“They can absolutely not accept pay. This is only about endorsements. They cannot be paid by the college or any other entity for their service as an athlete,” said Sen. Joe Lagana, D-Bergen, one of the sponsors.

California enacted a similar law in September, and other states are also considering legislation that would do away with the NCAA’s restriction on student athlete pay.

Critics have said the NCAA and federal lawmakers should reach a national solution instead of a patchwork of state laws, and also argue that the bill would only help star athletes with widespread acclaim.

“Take football. That’s a team game,” said Sen. Samuel Thompson, D-Middlesex. “You have some people that become outstanding stars — running backs, quarterbacks, et cetera. But they can’t be outstanding stars unless they have seven linemen in front of them opening holes and et cetera. And I think there could be some resentment.”

Even if the bill does become law, it would be a long time before any students see green.

The bill is slated to take effect five years after enactment so that, according to the sponsors, the NCAA would have ample time to come up with a fix to student-athlete pay that would apply nationwide.

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