SACRAMENTO – In a move that could change amateur sports and is sure to draw legal challenges, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill Monday to allow college athletes to hire agents and make money from endorsement deals.
The first-in-the-nation bill – dubbed the “Fair Play to Pay Act” – directly challenges regulations by the National Collegiate Athletic Association that bar student-athletes from benefiting financially from playing sports in college.
Currently, student-athletes are barred by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) from earning compensation from their association with college sports even though their respective college or university can make millions from their athletic performance. That participation often comes at great risk to students’ health, academic success, and professional prospects. Nationwide, colleges and universities make $14 billion each year from student athletics and the NCAA takes in $1 billion annually.
The bill, which passed the California Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support, becomes the first law of its kind in the nation to allow college student-athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness.
Newsom signed Senate Bill 206 during an episode of UNINTERRUPTED’s “The Shop,” flanked by professional basketball star LeBron James and other athletes.
The governor said in a statement Monday that the current paradigm gives an unfair advantage to colleges and universities while student-athletes take on physical and financial risks.
“Colleges and universities reap billions from these student-athletes’ sacrifices and success but block them from earning a single dollar,” Newsom said in the statement. “That’s a bankrupt model – one that puts institutions ahead of the students they are supposed to serve.”
“This is the beginning of a national movement – one that transcends geographic and partisan lines,” said Governor Newsom. “Collegiate student-athletes put everything on the line – their physical health, future career prospects and years of their lives to compete. Colleges reap billions from these student-athletes’ sacrifices and success but, in the same breath, block them from earning a single dollar. That’s a bankrupt model – one that puts institutions ahead of the students they are supposed to serve. It needs to be disrupted.”
This is a developing story.
— By Martin Macias Jr.