California governor signs bill into law to allow college athletes to collect endorsement money

Justin Norris | Staff Writer

The movement for NCAA players to be compensated for their name, image or likeness is finally gaining traction.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sept. 30 signed the Fair Pay to Play Act into law. The California State Assembly had previously and unanimously passed the bill, and the State Senate also had passed a previous version of the bill by a 31-4 vote, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The law is set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2023.

A common misconception is that colleges and universities will be paying athletes. What the Fair Pay to Play Act would do is allow student-athletes to be represented by agents and make business deals and receive compensation. According to ESPN.com, when this law is in place, colleges in California will not be allowed to punish athletes for collecting endorsement money.

The bill publicly became a law when Newsom signed it on The Shop, LeBron James’ show. Newsom anticipates this watershed moment being “a major problem for the NCAA.”

Maverick Carter, James’ business partner, asked Newsom on The Shop what the effect of the Fair Pay to Play Act will be.

Newsom said the law will “initiate dozens of other states to introduce similar legislation. And it’s going to change college sports for the better by having now the interest finally of the athletes on par with the interest of the institutions.”

Before he publicly defied the NCAA, the association penned a letter to Newsom that warned him of the consequences and dangers of allowing the Fair Pay to Play Act to become law.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the letter said the bill will “erase the critical distinction between college and professional athletics and, because it gives those schools an unfair recruiting advantage, would result in them eventually being unable to compete in NCAA competitions,” as well as being “unconstitutional” and “harmful.”

Hampton University softball player Mo’ne Davis, a freshman journalism major from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, thinks the bill is a good way for athletes to gain some control from the NCAA and that it will spread past California.

“I would like for the bill to spread, and I think it will help the NCAA make even more money, considering a lot of top high school basketball prospects are looking at forgoing college to play overseas,” she said.

Former Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow made headlines for his controversial take on the Fair Pay to Play Act and what it means for the future of collegiate athletics.

“I feel like I have a little credibility and knowledge about this because when I was at the University of Florida, I think my jersey was one of the top-selling jerseys around the world,” Tebow said on ESPN’s “First Take.” “It was like Kobe [Bryant], LeBron [James] and then I was right behind them. I didn’t make a dollar from it, and nor did I want to because I knew going into college what it was all about.”

Tebow immediately caught flak from all sides for failing to realize that most college athletes are not fortunate enough to gain, nor do they want to refuse, compensation for their hard work.

Myles Ferrell, an HU senior business management major from Atlanta, could not believe how short-sighted Tebow’s viewpoint was.

“Being a student-athlete is a full-time job,” Ferrell said. “After weightlifting in the morning and practicing in the evening with classes in between, it is hard to find time to make money for ourselves. As an athlete, you make your name by the work you put into your craft.

“There is no reason athletes cannot make money off of their likenesses. The Fair Pay to Play Act will not ruin college sports because those who do not wish to get paid can still abstain from doing so. But for those of us who would like to profit from our labor can finally start to negotiate their fair share like the rest of the country does.”

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