NCAA athlete pay: How a California bill could change the business of college sports

The California State Assembly passed a bill that would allow college athletes to profit from endorsement deals -- a move that has the potential to shake up collegiate sports.

The Fair Pay to Play Act, or SB 206, introduced by state Sens. Nancy Skinner and Steven Bradford, would essentially allow athletes in California to make money for the use of their name, image and likeness, becoming the latest development in the debate over whether collegiate athletes should be paid.

It passed the Assembly on Monday with a vote of 72-0. A  similar bill was passed in the state Senate in May with a 31-5 vote. The bill was amended after it passed the Senate, meaning it will have to return there for another vote, which could come as early as next week. If it passes, the legislation will head to the desk of Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The governor has 30 days to sign it into law. Once signed, it will go into effect Jan. 1, 2023.

A few of the bill's backers, such as Bernie Sanders and NBA star LeBron James, took to Twitter to urge residents and state representatives to support the legislation.

This comes on the heels of a threat by the NCAA saying California universities could be prohibited from championship games if lawmakers pass the bill allowing student-athletes to profit from their image and likeness. In June, NCAA President Mark Emmert sent a letter to two state Assembly committee chairs urging lawmakers to postpone the legislation.


Following the passage of the bill in the state Assembly, the NCAA told FOX Business, “The NCAA Board of Governors has monitored SB 206 as it has moved through the California legislative process. As we evaluate our next steps, we remain focused on providing opportunities and a level playing field for the nearly half a million student-athletes nationwide.”

Twenty-three NCAA Division I schools, including four Pac-12 Conference programs, could be impacted by the bill if it becomes law.