Gov. Gavin Newsom signs Fair Pay to Play Act

Bianca Cacciola, Reporter

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Starting in 2023, California college athletes will profit from endorsements and have the ability to hire agents to assist in negotiations. California state governor Gavin Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act, or Bill 206, on Sept. 30 in a Los Angeles barbershop. 

“Every single student in the university can market their name, image and likeness; they can go and get a YouTube channel, and they can monetize that,” Newsom said in an interview with The New York Times. “The only group that can’t are athletes. Why is that?” 

For the signing, Newsom made an appearance on LeBron James’ “The Shop: Uninterrupted” HBO show. Many other athletes, including Ed O’Bannon a former UCLA basketball and NBA player, were alongside Newsom and James as the California governor signed the Act. 

O’Bannon had a case against the NCAA fighting the denial of endorsements or sponsorships of Division One (D1) college athletes. The U.S. Court of Appeals ordered that the NCAA allow “colleges to offer the full cost of attendance, an annual stipend worth several thousand dollars,” according to an article on the Sports Illustrated website. Bill 206 does not allow college athletes to be paid by the colleges, the act allows college athletes to benefit from their talent as others do, including commercials, video games, summer camps, etc. 

One limitation the act faces is that the college athletes cannot accept an endorsement with a conflicting company that the college is contracted to. 

The Fair Pay to Play Act, inspired by the O’Bannon case, has not only been supported by numerous athletes, the California Assembly and California Senate gave it approval as well. Other states are following California’s lead and have proposed similar bills allowing college athletes to earn benefits. 

“In New York, State Senator Kevin Parker has proposed Senate Bill S6722A. It would provide the same basic rights as California’s Act, plus compel colleges to establish a fund for injured athletes that would pay out to athletes who suffer career-ending or long-term injuries. In South Carolina, State Senator Marlon Kimpson and Representative Justin Bamberg intend to propose a similar bill to California’s,” according to an article Michael McCann wrote for Sports Illustrated. 

The NCAA have given signals that they might challenge the law and attempt to have the courts block it. The organization has deemed the bill unconstitutional as it renders the playing-field for all college athletes uneven. 

Any event that is under the NCAA name will not allow anyone benefiting from the act to participate once the act goes into effect. Events such as NCAA Pac 12 Football, NCAA March Madness, and more would no longer include California, or any states that follow, collegiate athletes. 

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