California lawmakers pass bill allowing student-athletes to make endorsement deals

Ryan YoungYahoo Sports Contributor
A California bill that would allow student-athletes to profit from the use of their name and likeness passed the State Assembly on Monday, moving it one step closer to becoming law. (M. Anthony Nesmith/Getty Images)
A California bill that would allow student-athletes to profit from the use of their name and likeness passed the State Assembly on Monday, moving it one step closer to becoming law. (M. Anthony Nesmith/Getty Images)

The California State Assembly unanimously passed a bill on Monday that will allow student-athletes in the state to profit from the use of their own name, image and likeness, according to USA Today.

The Fair Pay to Play Act passed 72-0, with seven members not voting, and now should go to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk. It was amended after it passed the State Senate, however, meaning it will need to return there for a re-vote before it can go to Newsom. The original bill passed in the Senate 31-5, and is expected to pass again.

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Should both the Senate and Newsom pass the bill, it will become law on Jan. 1, 2023.

Should the bill be passed into law, all student-athletes in California would have similar endorsement opportunities provided to Olympic athletes. Schools would not be paying athletes, however the athletes could hire an agent and pursue business deals without losing their eligibility. They would also own the rights to their name and image on all apparel.

The NCAA did not comment on Monday’s vote, however has already come out in stark opposition of the bill — and even reportedly threatened California schools in a letter by implying that they could be banned from NCAA championships should the bill be passed. The NCAA also said that it would be “impossible to host fair national championships” in California. It officially formed a working group to study the issue in May, just a week after the bill was passed in the Senate.

While the NCAA is against the bill, it has picked up some high profile endorsements in recent weeks — including from LeBron James and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

A re-vote in the Senate could happen as early as Tuesday, per the report. The current California legislative session is set to end on Friday.

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