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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Outside pay for college athletes gets committee OK

OLYMPIA – College athletes in Washington might be able to receive more than a scholarship and their meals at some point in the future, but they shouldn’t start interviewing agents any time soon.

A Senate committee approved a revised version of a bill that would allow them to seek extra compensation beyond the standard scholarship arrangement, but not before other states with populations totaling 50 million take a similar step.

Higher Education and Work Force Development Committee Chairman Guy Palumbo, D-Maltby, said the change was an effort to address concerns of state universities officials who said they didn’t want to be “guinea pigs” for a new policy that could run afoul of NCAA rules.

Sen. Jeff Holy, R-Spokane, suggested lawmakers wait until half of the states have passed similar legislation before Washington adopts such a law. Playing college sports is a privilege, not a right, he said, and allowing athletes to receive outside compensation could create legal problems in which “the potential ripple effects are phenomenal.”

The bill was sent to the Ways and Means Committee, which must decide whether to send it to the full Senate.