TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators are taking steps to allow college athletes to hire agents and sign endorsement deals. Many fear that if they don't act, then out-of-state rivals will leave the state's most storied university athletics programs in the dust by attracting the best recruits. A bill that would bar state universities from preventing their athletes from earning outside compensation easily cleared the state Senate Commerce Committee on Tuesday. Athletics officials at the University of Kansas and Kansas State University back the measure and it appears to have bipartisan support, as Kansas' top-ranked men's basketball team prepares for March Madness.