SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Collegiate athletes often pour their hearts and souls into their sports. The best of them gain national attention and amass huge followings on social media, but they can’t profit from any of it. Senate Bill 94 aims to change that in New Mexico.
Collegiate athletes may soon be able to get paid. “I think it is a step in the right direction,” New Mexico State University Athletic Director Mario Moccia said. “It is a long time coming.”
Senate Bill 94 would allow student-athletes in New Mexico to make money off things like endorsement deals and sponsorships. “New Mexico State is certainly for student-athletes being able to be compensated for their name, image and likeness,” Moccia said.
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Moccia said while the university is supportive of the bill, there are a few concerns. “A good example is that we are an Under Armour school,” Moccia said. “You know, we wouldn’t necessarily like it if a student-athlete was promoting Nike. A few things like that, but it pales in comparison of the good it will do for student-athletes if it were passed.”
Sen. Mark Moores, a former Lobo football player, is one of the bill’s sponsors. He said the bill is modeled off of legislation already passed in other states. “Last year when I introduced this law, we would have been the second state to pass it after California,” Moores said. “Since then, six other states have passed this including our rivals in the Mountain West like Colorado.”
Moccia said it may attract athletes to New Mexico schools. “They might see that and think they can actually go to this school and make some money in the process,” Moccia said.
Many student athletes have tens of thousands of followers online, and a bill like this would allow them to monetize those followings. For example, they could get paid for a sponsored Instagram post. Moccia said he also can see student athletes creating accounts on apps like Cameo where people can pay for a video shoutout. “Members of our volleyball team can get on there, and our volleyball fans could pay for a volleyball player to wish their buddy a happy birthday,” Moccia said. “That is the best example of how your run-of-the-mill student athletes since they are all known in the community, can actually start making some money.”
Critics were concerned the bill could hurt smaller universities, but ultimately, the Senate approved it unanimously today. Moccia said the more states pass legislation like this, the more it will force the NCAA to allow compensation for athletes.