Universities oppose athlete pay bill despite changes

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Representatives from Washington’s two largest universities told lawmakers they oppose a proposal to allow student athletes to be paid, even after changes proponents had hoped would ease concerns.

Along with pay for games, the proposal would allow student athletes to be compensated for sponsorship deals already common in professional leagues.

The bill would put Washington at the forefront of a national debate where critics portray athletes as left out of vast profits while league organizers say pay restrictions preserve competition and a broader amateurism that fans support.

But representatives from the University of Washington and Washington State University objected Tuesday to being first in the nation to try out such a change, and said the issue should be addressed at the national level, rather than by the state.