For years, former and current college level student athletes have advocated and fought to get paid for playing sports in their respective leagues and on their school’s team. That may come to an end in 2023 in the state of California — if Governor Newsom signed the bill.
The California State Assembly voted 73-0 in favor of Senate Bill 206, which is being referred to as the Fair Pay to Play Act. If the bill is signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, players will be entitled to monetary compensation on endorsement deals.
While big name athletes like Antioch High School alumnus and current Alabama running back Najee Harris and former Duke star Zion Williamson — 2019 NBA No. 1 draft pick received a full ride scholarship, they are not able to make any income during the season, even if they are putting butts in seats.
“The 231 NCAA [National Collegiate Athletic Association] Division 1 schools with data available generated a total of $9.15 billion in revenue during the 2015 fiscal year,” according to data collected from the U.S. Department of Education.
These players do not receive a check from the school or any major television network for the views they get. Companies like Adidas or Nike do not contact players with any form of payment for selling jerseys with their names on them.
“It will definitely impact what college players attend as they will go where they can get marketed best and they can sell their name the best,” said LMC soccer head coach Zach Sullivan. “I think it’s fair though as there’s so many great college players who either never really pan out in the pros or have injuries that impact their future.”
In a 2015 interview, then Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman went deep into what student athletes do for a school and how much of a toll it took on their wallets.
“Usually my (bank) account was more in the negatives than the positives,” Sherman said in a press conference. “You gotta make decision on whether you get gas for your car or your meal for the day.”
Of course, the news of the bill does not come with out controversy and does not sit well with the NCAA.
President of the NCAA Mark Emmert sent a letter to two California committees about the bill, expressing that if the state were to sign the bill, it could lead to California schools being prevented from participating in NCAA playoffs.
Some people feel like it takes away what college sports is about, representing your school.
“I know college football players deserve more but it will take away the point of them working and playing to make it to the NFL. It will take the motivation away and authenticity of college football away,” said LMC linebacker Hemasi Latu.
While this doesn’t effect Los Medanos College athletes at the moment, many students here may try to be in leagues associated with the NCAA.
Newsom has until Oct. 13 to respond to the bill before it passes through into law without his signature.