California opens the door for college sports endorsements

California Governor, Gavin Newsom has signed legislation that could be game changing for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the controversial structure within college sports. 

The potentially groundbreaking legislation has opened the door for college athletes to earn money from endorsement deals and aims to eradicate the possibility of the NCAA and colleges prejudicing athletes on the basis of what they are earning. 

Upon signing the act, which is titled ‘The Fair Play to Pay Act’, Newsom stated: “Colleges and universities reap billions from these student athletes’ sacrifices and success but 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.”

The act was confirmed on a special episode of UNINTERRUPTED’s The Shop, in which Newsom featured alongside the bill’s co-sponsor Senator Skinner, LeBron James, UNINTERRUPTED’s CEO Maverick Carter, UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi, WNBA star Diana Taurasi, former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon and Rich Paul.

Speaking on the show, Newsom underlined the significance of the deal: “This is the beginning of a national movement – one that transcends geographic and partisan lines. Collegiate student athletes put everything on the line – their physical health, future career prospects and years of their lives to compete. 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.”

Senator Skinner also lauded the act and what it will mean for college athletes: “This is truly a historic moment for college athletes. Gov. Newsom once again shows why he is a national trailblazer. Signing SB 206 makes California the first state to restore to student athletes a right everyone else has: the right to earn money from their name, image, and likeness. Thank you, Gov. Newsom, and your staff, for this groundbreaking achievement.”

The Pac-12, which is a collegiate athletic conference operating in Western United States released a statement, highlighting its disappointment at the decision: “The Pac-12 is disappointed in the passage of SB 206 and believes it will have very significant negative consequences for our student-athletes and broader universities in California. 

“This legislation will lead to the professionalization of college sports and many unintended consequences related to this professionalism, imposes a state law that conflicts with national rules, will blur the lines for how California universities recruit student-athletes and compete nationally, and will likely reduce resources and opportunities for student-athletes in Olympic sports and have a negative disparate impact on female student-athletes.”