In one of the most significant strikes against the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s system of amateur athletics, California lawmakers have approved a bill that would allow players in the state to profit off their name, image and likeness.
The adoption of the bill is likely to set up a battle between California lawmakers and the NCAA as the legislation heads to the desk of Governor Gavin Newsom for his anticipated signature.
The association fiercely opposed the measure. NCAA President Mark Emmert went so far this summer as to insinuate that California institutions would be excluded from championship games if the bill was approved.
Traditionalists in the NCAA argue that allowing college athletes to earn money from endorsement deals or marketing promotions involving their name, image and likeness undermines the concept of collegiate sports being at the amateur level. The NCAA position is that players should focus on their education first and not participate in a pay-for-play system. The longstanding debate over whether colleges and the association take advantage of athletes who work hard and earn the institutions and the NCAA lots of money but receive none of the spoils has been subject to court challenges.
California lawmakers seemed unbothered by the NCAA’s opposition to the legislation, the Fair Pay to Play Act, or SB 206. The measure was sponsored by Democratic State Senator Nancy Skinner and cleared the State Assembly, the Legislature’s lower chamber, on Monday with 72 votes and no opposition. It also prevents athletes from being stripped of their scholarships if they earn money from the use of their name, image, and likeness… (continue reading)