California Governor signs Fair Pay to Play act into law

Getty Images
6 Comments

California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed into law a bill that will allow college athletes to profit off of their name, image and likeness.

And he did so on The Shop, LeBron’s show on HBO:

“It’s going to initiate dozens of other states to introduce similar legislation,” Newsom said of this law. “It’s going to change college sports for the better by having the interest of the athletes on par with the interests of the institution. We’re rebalancing that power arrangement.”

Senate Bill 206 – which has been dubbed the Fair Pay To Play act – was pushed through by Nancy Skinner, a state senator from Berkeley, and passed the state legislature unanimously.

The NCAA released a statement on Monday morning in response to the law: “As a membership organization, the NCAA agrees changes are needed to continue to support student-athletes, but improvement needs to happen on a national level through the NCAA’s rules-making process. Unfortunately, this new law already is creating confusion for current and future student-athletes, coaches, administrators and campuses, and not just in California.

“We will consider next steps in California while our members move forward with ongoing efforts to make adjustments to NCAA name, image and likeness rules that are both realistic in modern society and tied to higher education.”

“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 next step here is what is going to be interesting, because there was never any real question about whether or not Newsom, a former Division I college baseball player, would sign the bill. The NCAA has already made it clear that they are not yet in a position where they support this bill being pushed through. Mark Emmert told California lawmakers that signing this bill into law could force the NCAA to hold the schools in that state out of NCAA competition.

This is those lawmakers calling Emmert’s bluff.

While all of this is happening, a legislator in New York has also proposed a similar bill, while a handful of other lawmakers have pushed back on the NCAA’s arcane amateurism rules.

California’s new law will not go into effect until 2023, which gives the NCAA more than three years to figure out what they are going to do.