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Missouri House votes to let college athletes cash in

The measure would prevent Missouri colleges from taking away scholarships or kicking students off the field for earning money for their names, images and likeness
Credit: AP
Missouri teammates pose with the Braggin' Rights trophy after they defeated Illinois in an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The GOP-led Missouri House on Thursday passed a bill that would ensure colleges don't stand in the way of athletes making money off their stardom.

House members added the provision to another bill Thursday, a common tactic as lawmakers near their May 14 deadline to send legislation to Republican Gov. Mike Parson. 

The measure would prevent Missouri colleges from taking away scholarships or kicking students off the field for earning money for their names, images and likeness.

The NCAA, which oversees college athletics, has prevented athletes from cashing in on their prowess in the field or arena, arguing that doing so would muddle the distinction between amateur and professional athletes. Advocates have dismissed that argument on many grounds, noting in particular that colleges and the NCAA itself have profited for years from student athletics.

Republican Rep. Nick Schroer said the current policy is unfair and puts limits on capitalism. 

But Republican House Speaker Rob Vescovo argued that athletes already are getting scholarships and shouldn't be allowed to get endorsement deals, too. 

The amended bill now heads back to the Senate for consideration.