Hb 3 - Education: Elementary and Secondary Education

JurisdictionGeorgia,United States
Publication year2015
CitationVol. 32 No. 1

HB 3 - Education: Elementary and Secondary Education

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Elementary and Secondary Education: Amend Sections 317 and 318 of Part 14 of Article 6 of Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, Relating to Other Educational Programs, so as to Prohibit Persons from Entering into or Soliciting a Transaction with a Student-Athlete That Would Result in Sanctions to the Student-Athlete; Provide for a Right of Action by a Postsecondary Institution; Provide for Related Matters; Provide for an Effective Date; Repeal Conflicting Laws; and for Other Purposes

Code Sections: O.C.G.A. §§ 20-2-317, -318 (amended)

Bill Number: HB 3

Act Number: 101

Georgia Laws : 2015 Ga. Laws 813

Summary: The Act prohibits offers of cash in return for autographs or other memorabilia to student athletes in the State of Georgia. The Act further gives the institution a right of action against a person causing a student-athlete to lose eligibility.

Effective Date: May 6, 2015


"I'm obviously very disappointed."1 Those were Coach Mark Richt's words upon learning that Todd Gurley, a star tailback on his University of Georgia (UGA) football team, had allegedly accepted payment for autographed memorabilia in violation of National College Athletic Association (NCAA) Rules.2 However, Todd Gurley is not the first to be accused of doing so; other collegiate stars

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have also allegedly accepted illicit payments.3 Coach Richt was not alone in his disappointment—Bulldog fans throughout the State of Georgia shared this sentiment.4 The fans' frustration was not directed at Mr. Gurley; it was aimed squarely at the person who had solicited his autographs, Bryan Allen.5 Others, however, felt that blaming Mr. Allen or Mr. Gurley was unjust, focusing instead on the NCAA regulation as the problem—as one reporter asked, "[w]hat exactly is wrong with someone making money off his own name?"6

One purpose of the NCAA is "[t]o encourage its members to adopt eligibility rules to comply with satisfactory standards of scholarship, sportsmanship[,] and amateurism."7 The wrongdoing in Mr. Gurley's case comes from the rule prohibiting NCAA athletes from receiving pay that may jeopardize a student's status as an amateur athlete.8 While Mr. Gurley broke NCAA rules, Mr. Allen violated no Georgia laws.9 The only consequences Mr. Allen faced were issued from the court of public opinion.10 As punishment for his violations, the NCAA suspended Mr. Gurley from four games, required him to serve forty hours of community service, and stipulated that he donate part of his autograph earnings to charity.11

Before House Bill (HB) 3 was enacted, two existing Georgia laws were in place to deter athletic boosters from improperly compensating athletes.12 Code section 20-2-317 prohibits gifts to student-athletes or their immediate family and classifies a violation

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as a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.13 Code section 20-2-318 gives the institution a civil cause of action against anyone that causes the institution, as opposed to an individual player, to be sanctioned by the NCAA.14 These laws were enacted as the result of a 2002 study, which found that the punishment of university staff and boosters was inadequate in comparison to the consequences suffered by the athlete and school.15 These laws, however, did not cover memorabilia dealers unconnected with the school, such as Mr. Allen.16

Bill Tracking of HB 3

Consideration and Passage by the House

Representative Barry Fleming (R-121st) pre-filed HB 3 on November 17, 2014.17 It was designated as FIB 3 because that was the number Mr. Gurley wore during his time as a Georgia Bulldog.18 The House read HB 3 for the first time on March 2, 2015.19 The House read the bill for the second time on March 3, 2015.20 Speaker David Ralston (R-7th) assigned the bill to the House Committee on Higher Education.21 The Committee favorably reported the bill by substitute on March 4, 2015.22

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HB 3, as pre-filed, only amended Code section 20-2-318 by adding a new Code section 20-2-318.1.23 HB 503, as introduced, made slight grammatical changes to Code section 20-2-31724 and moved some proposed changes from Code section 20-2-318 to Code section 20-2-317.25 The result of this latter change is that a violation of the new statute, soliciting autographs from a collegiate athlete in exchange for compensation, is a misdemeanor.26 Representative Fleming removed this language because he did not "want [the crime] to be a felony."27 HB 503 later became the substitute version of HB 3.28 The House read the Committee substitute as amended on March 13, 2015.29 The House passed the Committee substitute by a vote of 145 to 27.30

Consideration and Passage by the Senate

Senator Bill Cowsert (R-46th) sponsored HB 3 in the Senate.31 The Senate read the bill for the first time on March 18, 2015.32 HB 3 was assigned to the Senate Committee on Higher Education.33 The Committee favorably reported the bill without changes on March 25, 2015.34 The Senate read the bill for the second time on March 25, 2015.35 It was read for the third time on March 31, 2015,36 and passed the same day by a vote of 48 to 4.37 HB 3 was sent to

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Governor Nathan Deal (R) on April 7, 2015, and the Governor signed the bill into law on May 6, 2015.38 The bill became effective upon the Governor's signature.39

The Act

The Act amends Part 14 of Article 6 of Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated to provide a school a cause of action against a person engaged in inappropriate means of encouraging and rewarding a student-athlete, causing a student-athlete to lose eligibility.40 The Act further makes transacting with a student-athlete, which results in the student-athlete losing eligibility,41 a misdemeanor.42

Section 1 of the Act amends Code section 20-2-317 to define a transaction as "any action or set of actions occurring between two or more persons for the sale or exchange of any property or services."43 It prohibits any person from entering into or soliciting transactions with a student-athlete if the person has knowledge that the transaction would violate a governing body's rules, likely carrying a loss of eligibility for the student-athlete as a sanction.44 Section 2 of the Act expands Code section...

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