Newsom signs ‘Fair pay to Play’ bill

Elisa Fuentes, Sports Reporter

  After the California Legislature passed Senate Bill 206 allowing collegiate athletes to receive money for their names, images, and likenesses, it was up to Governor Gavin Newsom to sign it. When this bill was signed, it meant that college athletes, excluding community college athletes, could be compensated for memorabilia, or even make promotional deals with outside sources. So far, the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) has policies that restrict student athletes from receiving money from outside sources. Universities have their own restrictions on students as well, such as coaching. 

  For college athletes who need the extra help with finances and costs for such things as groceries, SB 206 could provide them with some relief. Since the bill was passed by the legislature, the NCAA had threatened to dismiss the California schools from competing in their association. They argued that it is not fair to the other schools participating. After the threat, the bill was changed to restrict the NCAA from making such a move. However, the NCAA could release another threat or change their policies further. That may have a negative impact on the students who the bill is supposed to help. 

  One aspect of the bill is that student athletes must receive compensation from schools, athletic associations, conferences, or a group or organization that has authority over them. Another aspect of the bill is that a student athlete’s scholarship cannot be revoked if they receive compensation. Other things to note are that student athletes are allowed professional representation or an athletic agent, and schools cannot give prospective students money. 

  Support for SB 206 extends from the senators who passed it to professional athletes such as LeBron James who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, and Draymond Green who plays for the Golden State Warriors. They are in favor of a bill that may help college athletes who need the extra money by allowing them to accept endorsements, whereas only the NCAA and universities are able to earn money from student athletic activities at this time. 

  Newsom signed SB 206, or the “Fair Pay to Play” Act, on the Sep. 30 episode of LeBron James’s HBO show “The Shop.” Katelyn Ohashi, a former UCLA gymnast, was among the guests there. She has spoken out in support of the bill, claiming that is the student athlete’s right to earn money from their own name and likeness. 

  It is important to note that whatever is in the act is subject to change, especially because it does not go into effect until January 2023. The effects the act will have on the universities, the NCAA, and the student athletes themselves are still questionable. The NCAA could potentially make it harder for students to compete, and conflicting endorsements between students and their schools may also arise. 

  In regards to our California State University system and students receiving compensation for their names and likenesses being used by the school, “I’m not sure how that would work,” said Senior Director of Public Affairs for the CSUs Michael Uhlenkamp. My understanding is they can seek compensation. They would have to engage the university on that level. It is one of many theoreticals we would have to address in the next couple of years. 

  Uhlenkamp also stated that there are many challenges the CSUs, as well as other universities in California, will face moving forward in the years leading up to 2023. There is a challenge with students receiving individual endorsements from local businesses which would otherwise have gone to benefit the university, being that CSUs do not receive the big multimilliondollar endorsements as other big universities with powerhouse sports. He did mention that Newsom is willing to work with campuses and their stakeholders for any unintended consequences of the “Fair Pay to Play” act. 

  “It is incredible that there is a big base behind this, and advocacy for student athletes. There was a lot of people who pushed it through, and that’s an awesome step in the right direction,” said senior volleyball player Ally Barber about the act.  

  Barber also said, “My main concern is that student athletes are educated up until 2023, because it still is illegal for us to accept money, and business don’t necessarily know that yet.” She also mentioned how CSUB student athletes are being informed and educated about this, and how it does not affect them right now. 

  Barber is not the only student who thinks it is fair and an equal opportunity for students. Another student athlete expressed his support as well.  

  “I agree with it because there are some players that deserve that money from endorsements,” said sophomore soccer player Carlos Amrnendariz, who gave an example of someone who would benefit from this act. 

  What the “Fair Pay to Play” Act means for CSU Bakersfield is still unknown. However, it does mean student athletes are allowed to be endorsed, and it has support from our athletes.