College Compensation Bill Clears Hurdle In California Assembly
The California State Assembly "overwhelmingly passed a bill that would allow college athletes to more easily make money off their own name, image and likeness, beginning Jan. 1, 2023," according to Steve Berkowitz of the USA TODAY. The bill yesterday passed 72-0 with 7 not voting, which "all but assures that the measure will go to Gov. Gavin Newsom." The State Assembly "spent more than 20 minutes on this bill," with six members rising to "speak on the matter." Because the bill was "amended after it had passed the State Senate, it will have to return there for a concurrence vote that could come as early" as today. However, the State Senate "approved its version of the bill by a 31-5 margin, and the bill's basic intent remains unchanged." If the bill "reaches Newsom's desk, he will have 30 days to sign it or veto it." If he "takes no action, the bill becomes law." This sets up the "prospect of a conflict between the NCAA's amateurism rules and the laws of a state." Newsom is "likely to face heavy lobbying from the NCAA, the Pac-12 and university officials from public and private schools throughout the state." LeBron James and Warriors F Draymond Green tweeted their support for the bill after the Assembly's vote (USA TODAY, 9/10). Several other states already have "considered similar laws." U.S. Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) also has "proposed a federal law that would have the same effect" (ESPN.com, 9/9).
SETTING UP A SHOWDOWN: In N.Y., Billy Witz notes this bill is the "latest tussle in a longstanding debate about the commercial spoils of NCAA amateurism." In recent years, the NCAA has "allowed colleges to grant 'cost of attendance' stipends along with scholarships, relaxed tough rules on transferring and encouraged spending on mental health treatment and meals for athletes, though most changes have required prompting by the courts or public opinion." Opponents of the California bill see it as "crossing a critical line, professionalizing collegians." Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott, NCAA President Mark Emmert and other leaders in collegiate sports sent a letter to California legislators, painting a "doomsday scenario for the state's athletic teams if the bill becomes law." They say that colleges in the state could be "prohibited from competing for NCAA championships because they would have an unfair recruiting advantage." Opponents of the bill also said that it could "produce other complications," such as "what if a quarterback reaches a marketing agreement with a casino?" California state Sen. Nancy Skinner said those such complications are why the bill "would not go into effect for more than three years -- enough time to account for any unintended consequences" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/10).