California Fair Pay To Play Act provides athletes new opportunities

Story by Jacob Phillips, Online Editor

Athletes gained new rights Sept.30 when The Fair Pay To Play Act was signed by the California state assembly and governor Gavin Newsom with LeBron James and Ed O’Bannon seated next to him. The new law will take effect in 2023 and will allow college athletes to receive payments for their names and likeness in the form of jersey sales and endorsements. For years the NCAA has profited billions of dollars off of the brand of their student-athletes. 

“Colleges reap billions from student athletes but block them from earning a single dollar. That’s a bankrupt model,” Newsom said via Twitter. 

This law opens new opportunities for college athletes in the state of California. They can now hire managers and build their brand before going pro. They can even get paid for endorsements and sponsor summer camps. 

Although the law does not allow student athletes to get paid by their schools, they can still earn a profit through endorsements while furthering their education in college.

Athletes getting paid by schools is a federal crime and has been the topic of recent scandals in the NCAA. Schools have paid athletes under the table hoping it will persuade them to come to their schools. In 2018, a large scandal of this type affected 24 high caliber Division 1 schools in men’s basketball.  Hopefully, this new law will provide an opportunity for these scandals to cease.

For some reason, the NCAA continues to fight this law describing it as “unconstitutional.” The NCAA feels that this law could lead to the professionalization of the college game and cause unintentional consequences. However, many believe the NCAA is upset that their athletes will be able to make money, causing the NCAA to lose some hold over their athletes. Others are confused because the NCAA is not receiving any material gain or loss from the law.

“It’s kinda ironic to me the NCAA will continue to fight this, and nobody is taking money out of their pocket directly,” NBA player Draymond Green said in an interview with CNN. “The Dictatorship [NCAA] wants to continue to go by the same system that has been broken for years.”

This law will hopefully attract more student athletes to attend and succeed in college. The college game is an important step in developing a player’s game before going pro, but many athletes don’t live comfortably without a source of income and end up dropping out of school. Now they are in a situation where they can make money and sign endorsements, giving them the opportunity to stay in school longer and afford to live their lives.

Unfortunately, this law is only specific to the State of California. It’s time the rest of the nation does as California did and provide student athletes the opportunity to make a profit from their name. The NCAA has taken advantage of it’s athletes and their growing popularity for too long. 

College athletes put themselves at risk of career-ending injuries, especially in sports like football, where injury rates tend to be very high. By providing athletes the opportunity to make money while they play, it makes the risks worth it. This way, if they get hurt they have money to fall back on if their scholarship gets pulled. 

The positives that the Fair Pay To Play Act creates for student athletes will provide them with much needed financial stability. Athletes will no longer struggle financially throughout their college years.

Student athletes at East Meck who have already committed to college like Trey Truitt and Anneliese Hohm should be hopeful that North Carolina will eventually pass a similar law. It would provide them the chance to make a profit off all their hard work. As NCAA athletes they will be forced to work the equivalent of a full-time job and will receive no money to do with what they want.

Yet for student athletes who will be at East Meck for the next few years, the future looks bright. There is pressure on the rest of the country to come up with laws similar to California before the law takes effect in 2023. North Carolina, in particular, has gained attention for the law when Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski voiced his support for the law.

Recently, the NCAA has gained a bad reputation which is full of corruption. They have made billions of dollars off of their athletes while the athletes don’t make a penny. This law will pave the way for reform in NCAA policy as it is only a matter of time before the rest of the nation passes similar laws. This law creates great opportunities for college athletes and has the potential to change the landscape of college athletics.