Governor Signs Bill to Speed Up Compensation for Student Athletes

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The effective date of the “Fair Pay to Play Act”— granting college athletes the right to compensation for their name, image, and likeness and allowing them to earn money from sponsorships, endorsement deals and other activities—has been moved up from January 1, 2023 to being effective as of September 1, 2021 having been passed by the California Senate and clearing the State Assembly last month and was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom. 

In 2019, California became the first state in the nation to give student athletes the right to compensation for their name, image, and likeness with the passage of SB 206. SB 26— authored by Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) and Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), and co-authored by Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita)— also extends that protection to include the California Community Colleges.

“As a former athlete, a longtime coach in my community, and author of the groundbreaking SB 206, I am pleased to see continued bipartisan support on the issue of fair compensation for college athletes,” said Senator Bradford. “The state and nation are now in solid agreement that students who generate millions and millions of dollars for universities should not have to struggle to purchase books, food, and have a place to sleep while others benefit from their talent and hard work. SB 26 is about bringing fairness and justice to the matter of compensation for college athletes faster by ending the modern day chattel slavery of college athletes than what we thought was possible when we started this fight and making sure we protect the civil right of a person to own themselves.”

Since the passage of SB 206, over 30 other states have initiated plans to introduced similar. The National College Athletic Association’s (NCAA)’s Division 1 Council voted in late June to allow student athletes to earn money for autograph signings, personal appearances, endorsements, and social media platforms. 

In the 2017 fiscal year, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which operates as a nonprofit organization, reported $1.1 billion in revenue.

“Changing the effective date of the Fair Pay to Play Act also helps with this year’s recruitment cycle and will put the upcoming fall class of student athletes on a level playing field with states that have a July 1st implementation date,” said Senator Bradford. “Additionally, a majority of college athletes will never play professionally, but while they play in college sports and are experiencing their 15 minutes of fame, they should be able to capitalize on their years sweat, practice, and hard work.”

“SB 26 is a critical equity measure for student-athletes in community colleges,” said Pam Haynes, President of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors. “We are pleased to be leading a national trend towards recognizing that all students deserve the opportunity to be rewarded for their talents. The ability to be compensated for the use of their name, image, likeness, and reputation will help thousands of community college students afford the cost of college and address their basic needs.”


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