California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act on Monday, effectively undermining the NCAA’s long-standing rules on amateurism.
The act gives athletes who attend the 24 public colleges and universities in California the right to make money off of their name, image and likeness.
This doesn’t mean that schools will be paying athletes to play for them, rather athletes can hire agents to help them seek endorsement deals and sponsorships on their own — such as TV commercials, radio ads, autograph signings or shoe deals.
California has set into motion a domino effect of lawmakers from at least nine other states to introduce a similar bill into their own state’s legislature.
This is the beginning of something much bigger than college athletes making money off of their name and I am perfectly OK with it.
I do not believe that college athletes should receive money from their respective universities to play sports for them — they already receive scholarships that can be worth more than $100,000 on many occasions.
I do, however, believe that it is each individual’s right to profit off of their own brand — not the one a big name school has made for themselves.
The fact that a 20-year-old who plays sports at a university is treated differently than an everyday student of the same age is ludicrous.
A 20-year-old communications major at the same university could start a YouTube channel that comes with monetary profit, using only their image and likeness, and would be lauded for it.
The NCAA has controlled the profitability of college sports and its athletes for a very long time.
I don’t think this legislation will even put a dent in their bottom line, it is more about control.
If athletes were to individually profit off of their brands, it would not take away from a single thing the NCAA does.
If anything, I could see this legislation helping calm the amount of corruption in college sports and could lead athletes to big-time schools without the help of dirty money from companies like Adidas.
If a player sees an opportunity to further their brand through their attendance at a particular university, who has the right to make that choice for them other than themselves?
I respect the NCAA and what it has done for thousands of current and former college athletes but denying the right to personal betterment is almost criminal. The NCAA shouldn’t be worried about whether kids are signing autographs, they should be focused on keeping full-on pay-to-pay scandals at bay.
Being paid to play a sport makes you a professional athlete, being paid for being you shouldn’t.