WATCH: Frank Martin shares what he can on Name, Image, Likeness bill
If there’s ever a coach to speak freely on a subject, it’s Gamecock head man Frank Martin.
During his press conference Wednesday afternoon, ABC Columbia asked him about a South Carolina bill proposed by Marlon Simpson that would pay student athletes.
Martin didn’t give his full opinion, since the bill hasn’t become law. He says USC has asked coaches to remain relatively quiet on the issue until the changes are made, but the coach did sound off on politics now getting involved in the process.
“We don’t need no legislator to tell us that we needed to change,” Martin said Wednesday. “Change was coming regardless of what politicians are taking credit for. We have to make sure we put certain things in place so that it doesn’t complete ostracize half of what college athletics is all about.”
Simpson proposed the bill back in 2014, but wants to re-introduce it with an added bonus.
“Essentially it would allow athletes to benefit in compensation from anyone who uses their name, their likeness, their image,” State Senator Kimpson said. That addition to the bill comes after California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act into law on Monday.
“There’s something fundamentally unfair when you sign away your name, your pictures, or your image and you receive no compensation,” Kimpson said.
His bill would only apply to schools generating more than $25 million from athletics. Two schools meet that minimum in South Carolina, the University of Clemson and the University of South Carolina.
“They have generated in excess of $100 million for their athletic programs and both have turned profit,” he said. Kimpson’s bill also proposes a stipend for athletes based on how many hours they spend on a sport, essentially paying them on a per hour basis. Also included is a medical trust fund, which would offer student athletes $2,500 per semester.
Another caveat of the bill is that it only applies to the sports that generate the most revenue, football, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball.
“The equestrian team and the swim team and the racquetball team, those sports don’t generate revenue and in fact some have losses,” Kimpson said. He added that other sports would still receive their usual stipend generated by the revenue from major sports.
“Every program in the college benefits from the sports program to some degree,” said Greg Farley, who believes college athletes should be paid. “Look at the money that’s put into everything. Stadium wise. How much tailgating that goes on outside of it. The guys that are making it happen don’t get anything.”
“I don’t think they should be paid,” said Melissa Barton, who played baseball at Western Kentucky University. “The stadiums are so big and everything around it is so big that I think them getting paid would just push it over the top.”
Kimpson says he’s still writing his bill and plans to file it in January. State Representative Justin Bamberg is also writing the bill.
Kimpson said both the University of South Carolina and Clemson generated more than $100 million from athletics in the last year.
WCIV contributed to the writing of this article.