NCAA says it may ban California colleges from championship games over athlete pay bill

The NCAA is threatening to ban California universities from championship games if lawmakers pass a bill allowing student-athletes to profit from their image and likeness.

California’s Fair Pay to Play Act could shake up collegiate sports, costing universities millions of dollars in revenue and potentially putting an end to NCAA amateurism.

NCAA President Mark Emmert sent a letter to two state Assembly committee chairs last week urging lawmakers to postpone the legislation. In the letter, the college sports governing body implied that if the bill passes, colleges and universities in the Golden State could be prohibited from participating in NCAA championships.

“We recognize all of the efforts that have been undertaken to develop this bill in the context of complex issues related to the current collegiate model that have been the subject of litigation and much national debate,” Emmert wrote in a letter obtained by USA Today. “Nonetheless, when contrasted with current NCAA rules, as drafted the bill threatens to alter materially the principles of intercollegiate athletics and create local differences that would make it impossible to host fair national championships. As a result, it likely would have a negative impact on the exact student-athletes it intends to assist.”


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

The bill, which passed the state Senate last month by a vote of 31 to 5, is scheduled to appear before an Assembly committee this week.