Gov. Tim Walz on Tuesday said he is “certainly willing to look at” legislation that would allow college athletes in Minnesota to hire agents and make money off endorsements, just as a newly signed law in California would.

“This is personal opinion for me, that I’ve always been fairly uncomfortable with what goes into that,” Walz said of NCAA rules that prohibit athletes from hiring agents and earning endorsements.

“I know people say, ‘They’ve been given their education,’ but there’s a lot of their images. I played video games with the images of college athletes that are marketed and made.”

Walz’s comments came one day after California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law scheduled to take effect in 2023, allowing college athletes to profit from their names and likenesses with shoe companies and other advertisers.

Newsom predicted California’s law would spur “dozens of other states to introduce similar legislation.”

That has already happened in New York and Florida, and this week, Rep. Nolan West, a Republican from Blaine, told the Star Tribune that his goal is to introduce a similar proposal to the Minnesota House during the 2020 legislative session.

Walz, a former high school football coach, said, “I certainly believe [college athletes] have the right to [agent] representation. There should be a voice made there.

“This is a multibillion dollar business. The vast majority of the student athletes do not go on to play professional sports, do not make money off that, but ticket sales and their images do.

“I haven’t discussed it with anyone. I certainly don’t see this moving to the forefront of discussions next session, but for me personally, I think it is worth discussing.”

 

Staff writer Torey Van Oot contributed to this report.