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California Lawmakers Defy NCAA Rules with Fair Pay to Play Act

By Crystal King

The California Senate is making a game-changing move for college athletes by passing a new bill that will allow student athletes at California universities to receive profits from the use of their names, likenesses, and images.

The bill, titled Fair Pay to Play Act, passed the state Senate on Monday by unanimous vote and is heading to the desk of California Governor Gavin Newsom. The Governor has yet to make a comment on whether he will sign or veto the bill.

The Governor’s decision can have a big impact on powerhouse schools such as Stanford, UCLA, and USC because the bill goes against NCAA rules that prohibit student athletes from receiving endorsements, having agents, and making any profit outside of their scholarships.

As the top governing agent in college sports, the NCAA has used this ban of paying student athletes and other regulations to safeguard universities and their academic missions, but the college sport’s industry has grown into a multibillion-dollar industry which has opened up debates on the fairness of not paying the athletes heavily involved in the success of the industry.

The NCAA’s Board of Governors has reached out to Governor Newsom urging him not to sign the bill.

The NCAA finds the bill to be unconstitutional and in violation of the federal Commerce Clause. The NCAA also believes the bill will give California schools an unfair advantage when recruiting student athletes.

If the bill is signed into law, the NCAA is prepared to take the bill to court and has reminded the Governor that the bill will cause California colleges to be ineligible for NCAA competitions. 

The Fair Pay to Play Act has received an endorsement from NBA superstar Lebron James who claims the law will help student athletes “responsibly get paid for what they do and the billions they create.” Former UCLA basketball superstar Ed O’Bannon who sued the NCAA in 2009 for player’s rights to the profits made from the use of their images is another large supporter of the bill.

Vocal opponents of the bill have been former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow and several California colleges including Stanford and USC.

If the bill is signed into law, it is expected to take effect January 1, 2023. 

About Crystal King

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