New California law will benefit college athletes who need to make ends meet

Larry Larkin

California Senate Bill 206, known as the Fair Pay to Play Act, will allow college athletes to get paid for the use of their name, image, and likeness. 

The bill was written by California Senators Nancy Skinner and Steven Bradford. It was recently passed by the California Assembly and signed by Governor Gavin Newsom on September 27, 2019. The law will go into effect on January 1, 2023. 

Although the law might seem simple, it’s more complicated than it sounds. The common misconception is that SB 206 will require colleges to pay their athletes. However, that is not true.  

The only thing SB 206 will do is allow student athletes to receive payments for their name recognition, image, and likeness, which is currently prohibited by the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association). 

The bill will also prohibit the NCAA from punishing players for being financially compensated. 

Essentially, this means that college athletes can hire agents and get paid for endorsement deals, and the NCAA can’t stop them. 

Luckily, the NCAA Board of Governors voted unanimously on October 29 to begin updating their bylaws to accommodate SB 206.

Unfortunately, this bill doesn’t apply to community colleges. 

However, that could change in the future. The bill requires that the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges create a working group about financial compensation for community college athletes. The working group must submit a report with their findings and policy recommendations by July 1, 2021. 

Skinner wrote the bill to stop the exploitation of college athletes and to help college athletes make ends meet. 

In his press release, Skinner wrote ‘It’s a myth that all student athletes receive full-ride scholarships that pay for their tuition and room and board. In truth, most athletes do not. Moreover, studies have revealed that the majority of college athletes nationwide live at or below the poverty level, spending up to 40 hours a week on their sport with little to no time left for an after-hours job.’

Why should college athletes live at the poverty level? They basically have full time jobs, and it’s the colleges, coaches and the NCAA who get rich off of their hard work.

The NCAA system is flawed, and California is leading the way to correcting it. 

When the law goes into effect in three years, college athletes in California will finally be able to earn financial compensation for their hard work. For those who are struggling to make ends meet, it will be life-changing.