NCAA athletes in California are about to be rolling in some cash. California Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation on Monday allowing college athletes to hire agents and to be paid for endorsements and the use of their images, and it will go into effect in 2023.
Senate Bill 206, or the Fair Pay to Play Act, is fair to all NCAA athletes as it lets them be in control of how they are marketed to a consumer. They are not being paid a base salary like professional athletes, but they arguably put in more work than professional athletes so that they can become professional.
College athletes and their families that didn’t receive scholarships or that rely on financial aid don’t typically have a lot of money. In a recent survey of college pricing by the College Board, a moderate college budget for an in-state public college for the 2017–2018 academic year averaged $25,290. A moderate budget at a private college averaged $50,900. When this law goes into effect it will help all the families that have NCAA athletes in California. Also, when you’re a college athlete, you don’t have the free time to get a job on top of training and your homework from classes. In a survey of 189 college athletes, 43% said they get seven or fewer hours of sleep every night, according to futurity.org, a university research website.
These athletes are considered amateur, so when they play for their school, it’s not technically a job. Since the athletes are signed to the college, the college should be able to regulate the endorsements and likenesses used by the players and the money given to the athletes from said endorsements or likenesses.
One concern about this law comes from NCAA fans. Some believe this law will ruin the reality of the game. Since athletes are being paid now, they might not be as motivated to win for the team; they could just try and make themselves look good for their own personal gain.
There have also been many scandals in the NCAA concerning schools paying athletes to come play for them. Money cannot be an influence on an athlete’s college choice and is against NCAA policy. Former Louisville Cardinals associate head coach Kenny Johnson allegedly made a payment of $1,300 to the father of former Louisville recruit Brian Bowen, while former assistant Jordan Fair reportedly gave a second, unnamed prospect $900, back in 2017.The accusation was made in court by federal prosecutors seeking to convict three defendants of bribery and fraud charges linked to the FBI’s explosive pay-to-play college basketball investigation.
For all the work athletes put into their schools’ athletics, it’s no wonder this law is being passed. They sometimes miss class to go compete and have to eventually make up the work they missed. They also bring in revenue with ticket sales, concessions, merchandise and more.
It’s also important to note that college student athletes are not only a part of a sports team, but also a part of the school’s advertising team. For example, the “Flutie Effect” is used to describe a spike in college admission following a big sports win. It’s named after Boston College quarterback Doug Flutie, who won the Heisman Trophy in 1984, and the college’s admissions rose significantly in the years following.
The Fair Pay to Play Act will be a great way for college athletes to finally receive what they deserve. It is important for them to have control over their own likenesses and endorsements; however, I do believe they should run the information by the school to which they are signed.
By: Stone Hogan, Sports Editor