California Bill Would Allow Sponsorships For College Athletes
A proposal introduced by California state Sen. Nancy Skinner would allow college athletes to "get compensated for sponsorship opportunities," according to Bryan Anderson of the SACRAMENTO BEE. Under the bill, dubbed the "Fair Pay to Play Act," college athletes from California’s 24 public colleges and universities "would be able to make money 'as a result of the student’s name, image, or likeness.'" The universities would be "prohibited from taking away scholarships from students who choose to pursue those opportunities." Skinner said that it is "not her intent to have universities directly pay the athletes beyond scholarships." Rather, she wants students to get a "larger piece of the pie by profiting off of their skills." Skinner's proposal comes less than a month after Washington state Rep. Drew Stokesbary introduced a bill to allow college athletes to be paid by sponsors or companies seeking their endorsements (SACRAMENTO BEE, 2/6).
BATTLE IS ON: THE ATHLETIC's Marcus Thompson II noted the "Fair Pay to Play Act" is "hoping to spark a movement that forces the hand of the NCAA, a private entity not bound by state laws." The athletes could still be "ruled ineligible by the governing body of college sports." But the law "seeks to create a standoff between California colleges and their athletes and the NCAA, presuming the NCAA would eventually have to acquiesce instead of, in essence, banning its California schools." The tide has "gradually shifted towards compensating players." If this law passes and students take advantage, it would "create an incredible stir once the NCAA steps in and rules players ineligible" (THEATHLETIC.com, 2/4). Sacramento-based KOVR-CBS noted a bill introduced in California's last legislative session, the Student Athlete Bill of Rights, "failed in committee." That bill would have "allowed student-athletes to organize and make money from commercial sponsorships; however, that money would have gone into a trust until the athlete left school" (SACRAMENTO.CBSLOCAL.com, 2/5).