Councilman, former NCAA athlete on bill allowing college players to get paid: ‘Virginia should look at it’

Virginia News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — California has opened the door for collegiate athletes to get paid, in a move that defies the NCAA.

8News spoke with a former college football champion and current Richmond City Council member about what the landmark move could mean moving forward.

“Make money for the school and that person not benefit from it…that’s anti-American,” said Councilmen Mike Jones, a former NCAA athlete.

Councilmen Jones said the conversation for play-for-pay has gone back decades. California Governor Gavin Newsom believed that college athletes do deserve to be paid, and officially signed a bill allowing them to profit from their name, image, and likeness.

But could a bill that allows college players to be paid work in Virginia? Councilmen Jones seems to think so.

“I believe Virginia should look at it,” Jones said. “I believe every state that has college athletics should look at it seriously because you have a lot of athletes, a lot of young people that are putting their health on the line every single day.”

As a former University of Colorado football player and NCAA champion, Jones recalls players couldn’t even afford basic necessities and had to work a full-time job.

“We won a title that they hadn’t won in some 20 years at the University of Colorado, that put Colorado athletics on the map, it just did, flat out and it did bring in money.”

But the players saw none of it.

While Jones told 8News he doesn’t support paying athletes because players are awarded scholarships, he does believe players should receive some type of compensation.

“If not, man, sell a UVA (University of Virginia) jersey with double or triple zeroes over it.”

The bill signed by Gov. Newsom won’t go in effect until 2023. Gov. Ralph Northam said he would review the legislation if, and when, it reaches his desk.

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