California legislature has passed a bill that will allow college athletes to get paid for use of their image and likeness.
On Monday, September 30th, 2019, California governor, Gavin Newsom, signed the California “Fair pay to play” act or S.B. 206. The bill will finally let athletes at Californian colleges and universities get paid for their image, hire agents, and take endorsement deals without losing their NCAA eligibility.
Bill 206 was proposed by California Senator, Nancy Skinner. Despite the NCAA’s haste to block this bill immediately, the bill won’t go into effect until January 1st , 2023.
The LA Times reports that although some schools were for the bill, other schools like Stanford and USC were opposed to the bill.
The NCAA fought relentlessly to have this bill blocked. The NCAA claims that the bill would be a threat to amateurism. They believe that reimbursing athletes for using their image or letting them hire agents would be detrimental to their institution.
It is evident that the NCAA will probably take this to court. It appears that the NCAA is against anything that will help college athletes. They even went so far as to say that California schools may be banned from NCAA championships because of an unfair advantage. The bill would not make it legal for the schools themselves to pay the athletes, but rather for athletes to be able to shop themselves.
I refuse to believe that the NCAA cares this much about the integrity of amateurism. The NCAA is a multi-billion-dollar institution built on the backs of thousands of less fortunate college athletes, but sure, it’s the “amateurism” that they’re worried about. Billy Witz of the New York Times says that letting athletes get these endorsement deals “would be no different than letting a music student at a school get a job as a DJ at a local club.”
Those in favor of Bill 206 say that the bill could only benefit the lives of these young college athletes. Some think this bill is necessary since some of these athletes come from less fortunate backgrounds and have families of their own. This bill would allow athletes to provide something for their families or at least maintain themselves.
Critics of the bill argue that Bill 206 would be taking the amateurism out of the NCAA. The NCAA is afraid that the bill would entice other states to allow their athletes to receive compensation. Dan Murphy from ESPN goes in detail on the bill and its effect on college sports.