By DAVE WILLIAMS Capitol Beat News Service ATLANTA – The landscape of college sports in Georgia is about to change forever. Legislation which took effect Thursday, July 1 will let student-athletes at Georgia colleges, universities, and technical colleges receive compensation for their name, image, and likeness (NIL). Supporters steered the concept of paying college athletes through the General Assembly this year at the same time legislatures in other states were passing similar measures, Congress was looking at the issue and the U.S. Supreme Court was taking up related cases. “What we’re hoping it will do is put Georgia colleges and universities and the men and women who play for them in a position that when a more comprehensive process is put in place … Georgia athletes will be able to take advantage of that,” said state Rep. Chuck Martin, R-Alpharetta, the bill’s chief sponsor. Pressure to compensate college athletes beyond scholarships covering tuition, room and board has increased in recent years as major college sports – particularly football and basketball – have become huge moneymakers for the schools as well as TV networks. “No one could have imagined this would be a multi-billion-dollar business with everyone making millions but the athletes,” said Rep. Billy Mitchell, D-Stone Mountain, who introduced a similar bill into the Georgia House of Representatives. “It’s such an inequitable system.” The urge to cut college athletes in on the profits also is being driven by instances of athletes running afoul of the NCAA for making a few bucks under the table. “We’ve had draconian penalties on athletes selling jerseys,” Mitchell said. Under House Bill 617, college athletes in Georgia will be required to take five hours of financial literacy and life skills workshops to ready them for the added burdens of receiving compensation for their sports performances.