Legislation by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) to accelerate implementation of California’s Fair Pay to Play Act has been signed by Governor Gavin Newsom. This first-in-the-nation legislation – originally signed by the governor in 2019 and now being accelerated – allows college student athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness. The law inspired a wave of states across the country to take similar action to empower student athletes.
“California led the charge against the unjust power imbalance in college sports, launching a national movement and spurring long-overdue changes in this multibillion-dollar enterprise,” said Governor Newsom. “I’m proud to build on our leadership with today’s legislation to expand and protect our college athletes’ rights to reap the rewards from their sacrifices and success. I thank Senator Skinner and Senator Bradford for their tireless work to advance this fundamental matter of fairness and equity.”
Under SB 26, the Fair Pay to Play Act took effect on Sept. 1, 2021, ahead of the original January 2023 implementation date. This ensures that California students are protected under the Fair Pay to Play Act following new rule changes by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) that allow colleges and universities to develop their own rules in states without name, image and likeness laws, or in states where laws are not yet in effect. SB 26 also expands the Fair Pay to Play Act to California Community Colleges and allows athletes to identify what school they attend as part of promotional materials.
Governor Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act in 2019 alongside authors Senator Skinner and Senator Bradford, as well as NBA legend LeBron James, UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi, WNBA star Diana Taurasi, former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon and Rich Paul. SB 206 will allow all student athletes enrolled in public and private four-year colleges and universities in California to earn money from their name, image, or likeness. Student athletes will also be able to hire sports agents, and not lose their scholarships if they receive income for their work. The law includes safeguards to prevent college athletes from signing endorsement deals that conflict with their school’s deal when they are participating in official team activities.
For full text of the bill, visit http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.