California governor signs bill allowing college athletes to be paid

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into a law on Monday a bill that will allow college athletes to receive compensation for the use of their name, image and likeness.

The signing of SB 206 makes California the first state in the country to allow student athletes to make money from their athletic endeavors. Under the new law, college athletes will be allowed to sign endorsement deals and hire state-licensed agents.

Currently, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rules prohibit student athletes from receiving endorsement deals or payments for the use of their images. The new state regulations, which threaten to upend the current NCAA model, apply to four-year institutions but not to community colleges.

Newsom signed the bill into law on an HBO show hosted by NBA star LeBron James.

“I don’t want to say this is checkmate, but this is a major problem for the NCAA,” Newsom said on the show. “It’s going to initiate dozens of other states to introduce similar legislation.”

Newsom argued the new law puts the interests of athletes on par with the interests of institutions.

“Colleges reap billions from student athletes but block them from earning a single dollar. That’s a bankrupt model,” Newsom stated in a tweet.

In response to Newsom signing the bill into law, the NCAA released a statement criticizing the legislation but saying changes are needed.

“Unfortunately, this new law already is creating confusion for current and future student athletes, coaches, administrators and campuses, and not just in California,” the NCAA said in the statement. “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.”

A legal challenge of SB 206 is widely expected. The law is set to take effect in 2023.

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