Ministry of Sport

Athletes At Colleges In California Could Sign Endorsement Deals Under Newly Proposed Bill

Athletes at colleges in California will be allowed to hire agents and sign endorsement deals if California Governor, Gavin Newsom, signs off on the newly proposed bill.

The bill, known as the Fair Pay to Play Act, would allow athletes at California schools to hire agents and be paid for the use of their name, image or likeness.

The Senate passed the bill 39-0 on Wednesday, a few days after it got an endorsement from NBA superstar LeBron James and now rests in the hands of the Governor, who has not said whether he’ll sign it.

However, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is strongly opposed to the idea, saying it has the potential to kill amateur athletics if it becomes law

The NCAA Board of Governors has sent a letter to Mr Newsom saying the bill would give California schools an unfair recruiting advantage and as a result, the NCAA would declare those schools ineligible for its events.

“If the bill becomes law and California’s 58 NCAA schools are compelled to allow an unrestricted name, image and likeness scheme, it would 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,” the letter said.

NCAA’s chief operating officer and chief legal officer, Donald Remy, has dismissed rumours that the letter is an empty threat.

“We’ve explored how it might impact the association and what it might do,” Remy said.

“We believe it would inappropriately affect interstate commerce.”

“It is not intended to be a threat at all, it’s a reflection about the way California is going about this.

“I’m not saying there will never be a day we would consider that (legal action), but it is not meant to be a threat,” Remy said.

LeBron James and has praised the potential for California to give college athletes a share of the windfall they help create for their universities and the NCCA.

The pending result sets up a confrontation with the NCAA that could jeopardise the athletic futures of powerhouse programs like USC, UCLA and Stanford.
Shaun Carney

Shaun Carney