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Georgia law allowing college athletes to be paid, schools can redistribute funds to other players

The NCAA has resisted moves to compensate student athletes prompting several lawsuits, including one set to be reviewed by the Supreme Court

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FILE - Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, center, Speaker of the House David Ralston and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan hold a news conference Wednesday evening, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta, to condemn the breach of the U.S. Capitol. The 2020 election cycle has left Georgia's Republican governor bruised even though he wasn't on the ballot. The two Senate Republicans defeated in runoff elections included Kemp's hand-picked appointee, Kelly Loeffler. (AP Photo/Ben Gray)
By: Alyssa Wilson

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed House Bill 617 on Thursday. The bill will allow college athletes in the state to earn money from their name, image and likeness beginning in July 2021.  

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Kemp said he hopes the new law will help give the state a competitive edge in attracting players and students from Georgia and other states, The Moultrie Observer reported.  

“I believe it sets Georgia on the path to accomplish something that quite honestly should have been done a long time ago,” he said. “Thanks to [the bill], student athletes from across the country will have Georgia on their mind when they’re looking for a campus and a university that can give them a world-class education but also the chance to compete at the highest levels of college athletics.” 

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Although the legislation is considered a win by some, it comes with a twist. Schools can require athletes to save up to 74.99% of their money earned in an escrow account that would be shared with other athletes, Sports Illustrated reported. That money cannot be withdrawn until a year after they graduate or leave school. Individual schools in the state can decide whether or not they implement the requirement.  

The bill also requires college athletes to take five hours of a financial literacy and life skills workshop as preparation to receive compensation. It also prohibits schools from giving cash offers or other incentives to high school recruits.  

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