Maryland lawmakers have proposed a bill that would allow college athletes across the state to unionize and collectively bargain over health and safety issues, along with compensation, according to a report from The Washington Post.
The proposed bill comes seven months after Jordan McNair’s tragic death following a summer team workout. Del. Brooke E. Lierman proposed the measure, citing McNair’s death, as well as the Larry Nassar scandal that broke at Michigan State University.
“There’s an inherently unequal playing field between student-athletes and the universities that they go to,” Lierman told The Post. “There’s so much money involved, which has made it much more weighted against students who are coming to school on scholarships and playing, especially the revenue-producing sports. There needs to be a conversation and probably legislation to correct the imbalance of power that exists right now.”
All universities in Maryland that field athletic teams would be included in the proposed bill. There would be four areas open to collective bargaining: scholarship terms, insurance benefits, use of an athlete’s image or likeness and the establishment of an independent advocate to work on behalf of athletes.
The proposed bill is in its infancy and will likely face plenty of challenges along the way.