This post was updated Sept. 30 at 3:48 p.m.
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 206 – also known as the Fair Pay to Play Act – on Monday morning, allowing collegiate athletes in California to profit from their name, image or likeness starting in January 2023.
“Collegiate student athletes put everything on the line – their physical health, future career prospects and years of their lives to compete,” Newsom said in a statement. “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.”
The bill started with Sen. Nancy Skinner in February and passed unanimously in the California State Legislature on Sept. 10. Monday’s signing of the bill took place on Lebron James’ HBO show, “The Shop,” after James and other professional athletes had voiced support of the Fair Pay to Play Act for months.
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
— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 30, 2019
The NCAA, however, has outwardly opposed the bill on the grounds that it would blur lines between collegiate and professional sports as well as give California universities an unfair advantage in recruiting since the other 49 states would continue operating without any such legislation.
SB 206 does not allow athletes to be paid directly by their schools, but makes it illegal for colleges to prevent players from signing endorsements or similar deals to make money – which, the NCAA argues, would attract top athletes to universities with the Fair Pay to Play Act enacted.
The initial reaction from the NCAA in June was to prohibit any schools that enact SB 206 from competing in the league. Doing so would mean banning Stanford, UCLA and USC – the three schools with the most NCAA championships – and so California representatives continued to push for the bill despite the apparent threats.
But the NCAA is expected to challenge SB 206 in court moving forward.