The California state government is going toe to toe with the NCAA with the passage of a new bill that will prohibit the enforcement of “any rule, requirement, standard, or other limitation that prevents a student of that institution participating in intercollegiate athletics from earning compensation as a result of the use of the student’s name, image, or likeness.”
That sounds simple enough. They use your face and name to make money, then you get some of that money. Right? But, while logical rules like this are business as usual in pretty much every industry, that is far from the case when it comes to the NCAA.
As of right now, despite the fact that student athletes net big schools hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, the NCAA strictly prohibits paying them to play. Fortunately, that’s not what the new legislation is allowing the players to do. Rather than make the huge leap to pay student athletes to play (like they do in professional leagues), the new rule will instead allow student athletes to cover some very useful basics like hiring an agent and potentially collecting royalties.
While this is a huge step in the right direction, it’s far from a perfect answer for the student athletes putting their bodies on the line semester after semester. That is especially the case for the athletes who are still risking serious injury, but who don’t play for a big ticket program either. Discriminate between DI and DII athletes brain damage and herniated discs do not.
Though SB-206 was signed by Governor Gavin Newsome in California, it isn’t set to go into effect until January 1, 2023. It’ll likely be a long legal battle right up to the edge of the deadline. That is simply because not every school is an NCAA school. Thusly, California lawmakers were crafty to avoid partiality by applying the rule to all California colleges as well. The state has definite legal grounds to manage schools directly under its purview, but the NCAA is not only a private organization but an out of state one as well.
As the debate regarding the compensation of college athletes rages on, expect to see these two duking it out in court for a while.