Sen. Richard Burr vows to tax scholarships for student-athletes who profit from likeness

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., on Tuesday said he would introduce legislation to tax scholarships for college athletes who profit off their name and likeness in response to the NCAA's vote to reverse course on its long-held policy of prohibiting athletes from earning income.

"If college athletes are going to make money off their likenesses while in school, their scholarships should be treated like income. I’ll be introducing legislation that subjects scholarships given to athletes who choose to “cash in” to income taxes,” tweeted Burr, who serves as the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

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The NCAA's board of governors unanimously voted Tuesday to permit student-athletes "to benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness in a manner consistent with the collegiate model," the organization said in a statement.

The group directed its three athletic divisions to update their bylaws and policies to reflect the change, said Michael V. Drake, chair of the board and president of Ohio State University.

“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” Drake said. “Additional flexibility in this area can and must continue to support college sports as a part of higher education. This modernization for the future is a natural extension of the numerous steps NCAA members have taken in recent years to improve support for student-athletes, including full cost of attendance and guaranteed scholarships.”

The NCAA didn't give specifics about how it would oversee efforts by college athletes to earn compensation.

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The vote came after California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a historic bill, the “Fair Pay to Play" act, last month to allow student-athletes in his state to make money off their name and likeness.

The law -- which was heavily opposed by the NCAA and the Pac 12 conference -- allows athletes to sign endorsement deals and hire agents without risking their eligibility.

It takes effect in 2023.