There’s a new order on the horizon in the world of collegiate sports and it begins with California. On Monday (Sept. 30), the state’s Gov. Gavin Newsom authorized the “Fair Pay to Play Act” that grants student-athletes the opportunity to profit off of their likeness and hire agents. That means a student at a California-based university or college can entertain endorsements without being penalized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The bill is set to go into effect in January 2023.
I’m so incredibly proud to share this moment with all of you. @gavinnewsom came to The Shop to do something that will change the lives for countless athletes who deserve it! @uninterrupted hosted the formal signing for SB 206 allowing college athletes to responsibly get paid. pic.twitter.com/NZQGg6PY9d
The NCAA also issued a statement citing there’s confusion brewing within the collegiate sports sphere. “As more states consider their own specific legislation related to this topic, it is clear that a patchwork of different laws from different states will make unattainable the goal of providing a fair and level playing field for 1,100 campuses and nearly half a million student-athletes nationwide,” the statement reads. In 2017, the NCAA surpassed $1 billion in revenue for the first time.
— NCAA (@NCAA) September 30, 2019
Here are four takeaways from California’s foray into the world of collegiate sports.
What Restrictions Are Now Placed On The NCAA?
This leaves the NCAA without the power to ban an athlete or their respective university from a competition. California’s student-athletes will gain the opportunity to market their name and likeness “to outside bidders.” Community colleges, however, remain exempt from the state’s law.
Other States Plan To Get In On The Action:
Earlier this month, Brooklyn, New York’s Sen. Kevin Parker recently advocated for the state to mandate that colleges pay its athletes, citing equity as the main root. “These young people are adding their skill, talent and labor to these universities,” Parker said per ESPN. “You don’t need the shortcuts and the end-arounds because now we’re providing some real support for these student-athletes.” Parker’s legislation would require a collegiate school’s athletic department to disperse 15 percent of its yearly ticket revenue to its athletes.
Before California’s bill, the NCAA allowed tennis players to receive prize money no more than $10,000. Other student-athletes within the “Power 5” also are eligible to receive anywhere between $2,000-$4,000 in “cost-of-living stipends.” The Power 5 conferences include SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12, ACC, and Big Twelve.
Here’s our recent segment on the law California’s governor just signed, which requires the state’s universities to allow college athletes to collect endorsement money. This sets up a huge showdown with the NCAA, which is now under pressure to allow ALL athletes the same rights. pic.twitter.com/mo5kstCVqT
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) September 30, 2019
Professional Athletes Previously Voiced Concern Over The NCAA’s Restrictions:
In February 2018, LeBron James scrutinized the NCAA’s longstanding practice of not compensating athletes and referred to it as a “corrupt” company following a string of college basketball recruiting investigations. James even produced a documentary on the NCAA that highlights the astronomical salaries paid to coaches and secret endorsements.
“I do know what five-star athletes bring to a campus, both in basketball and football. I know how much these college coaches get paid. I know how much these colleges are gaining off these kids,” he said per ESPN. “I’ve always heard the narrative that they get a free education, but you guys are not bringing me on campus to get an education, you guys are bringing me on it to help you get to a Final Four or to a national championship, so it’s just a weird thing.”
While California’s bill also allows athletes the right to seek out an agent, the NCAA tried to get ahead by implementing a rule stating agents who express interest in student-athletes looking to enroll in the NBA draft must have a three-year certification with the league, take a test at the organization’s main office, and must’ve graduated with a bachelor’s degree.
NCAA Believes California’s Decision Will Blur The Lines Between Amateur And Professional Athletes:
The Associated Press notes being a part of the NCAA is voluntary, meaning if the organization begins to impose bans or further restrictions on universities and colleges in California, those schools have the ability to part ways from the company and possibly form its own league. The NCAA took issue with the state’s ruling stating the playing field will become uneven. “Right now, nearly half a million student-athletes in all 50 states compete under the same rules,” a statement reads. “This bill would remove that essential element of fairness and equal treatment that forms the bedrock of college sports.”
The organization reportedly asked California’s legislatures to remain steady on passing the bill so that its committee can review its own mandate that allows collegiate athletes a similar opportunity.