CALIFORNIA—On Monday, September 30, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed California Senate Bill 206 into law. The bill known as the ‘Fair Pay to Play Act’ will make it possible for first time for college athletes in the state of California to profit off their identity. The new law will go into effect in 2023.

Governor Newsom sat down with Lebron James on his Uninterrupted show for HBO where the two and a list of high-profile guests discussed the inequity of the NCAA profit margins and the plight of the student athletes. With the Fair Pay for Play Act, students athletes in California will be able to paid by sponsors and build their own brands. The legislation will have a significant impact on female student athletes as data provided by Forbes indicates most female athletes do not go on to compete in professional sports.

“Colleges and universities reap billions from these student athletes’ sacrifices and success but block them from earning a single dollar. That’s a bankrupt model — one that puts institutions ahead of the students they are supposed to serve,” said Governor Newsom.

Student athletes are prohibited by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) from earning compensation from their association with college sports while their college or university can make millions from their athletic performance. That participation often impacts the  students’ health, academic success, and professional prospects. Nationwide, colleges and universities make $14 billion each year from student athletics and the NCAA takes in $1 billion annually.

“This is the beginning of a national movement – one that transcends geographic and partisan lines,” said Governor Newsom. “Collegiate student athletes put everything on the line – their physical health, future career prospects and years of their lives to compete. Colleges reap billions from these student athletes’ sacrifices and success but, in the same breath, block them from earning a single dollar. That’s a bankrupt model – one that puts institutions ahead of the students they are supposed to serve. It needs to be disrupted.”

The NCAA released the following statement in response to Governor Newsom’s passing of SB206:

“As a membership organization, the NCAA agrees changes are needed to continue to support student-athletes, but improvement needs to happen on a national level through the NCAA’s rules-making process. Unfortunately, this new law already is creating confusion for current and future student-athletes, coaches, administrators and campuses, and not just in California.

We will consider next steps in California while our members move forward with ongoing efforts to make adjustments to NCAA name, image and likeness rules that are both realistic in modern society and tied to higher education.

As more states consider their own specific legislation related to this topic, it is clear that a patchwork of different laws from different states will make unattainable the goal of providing a fair and level playing field for 1,100 campuses and nearly half a million student-athletes nationwide.”

Written By Jonah Tellington and Donald Roberts