By Landon Harris (’21)
Fair Pay to Play Act
Recently, Governor Gavin Newsom of California signed into law the Fair Pay to Play Act. This bill allows college athletes to hire agents and be paid for endorsements. Student athletes will be able to promote goods and companies for the first time and benefit financially from the sports they play for their school. The law goes beyond the prohibition of the NCAA. However, the NCAA supports change and is starting the process of enabling student-athletes to take advantage of their name, image, and following to make a profit.
One of the most important points the NCAA reiterated in its press release is student-athletes must still be treated similarly to non student- athletes. The NCAA also stipulates that college athletes must not be treated like employees of their colleges, and that there should be a “clear distinction between collegiate and professional opportunities.” Other priorities for the NCAA that relate to this act are principles of diversity, gender equity, and protecting the recruiting environment going forward.
“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” Michael Drake, chairman of the Board of Governors and president of Ohio State University, said. “Additional flexibility in this area can and must continue to support college sports as a part of higher education. This modernization for the future is a natural extension of the numerous steps NCAA members have taken in recent years to improve support for student-athletes, including full cost of attendance and guaranteed scholarships.”
The act had a great impact on the sports community, provoking both positive and negative reactions. Obviously many professional athletes were in huge favor of this act. Lebron James has been pushing for a law like this for many years that could have helped his family, if he played for a college, and will help many young college athletes and their families. However, some thought the act needed more to be complete.
“If college athletes are going to make money off of their likeness while in school, their scholarships should be treated like income,” Burr said. He wants to add taxes to these scholarships, as he believes that if they can make money apart from their scholarship, their scholarship should be treated as a source of income. The major problem this creates is if some athletes aren’t getting endorsement deals, do they get taxed on their scholarship? The NCAA and the state of California are still working out the kniks of the new act, but hopefully it fixes the corrupt system college sports is.