It’s not out of the ordinary for California to want to stir up the hornet’s nest, but the Golden State’s latest move is setting in motion an entirely new level of problems that are already causing other states to scramble. With pen to paper, Governor Gavin Newsom is attempting to forever change the course of college-level athletics and disrupt the status quo at the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) and change how sports gambling is viewed.
Newsom signed into law this week the “Pay to Play” bill, Senate Bill 206 (SB 206), that allows college athletes to do something they have never been able to do before. They can now turn their names and faces into legal brands, giving them the right to establish endorsement deals and earn money for being who they are.
It goes without saying that athletes would now have a strong preference for California-based schools, and several states are already getting involved to establish similar legislation in order to not fall too far behind the Golden State and potentially lose the ability to have athletic powerhouses attend a school in their states. All of these individual efforts are going to provide a collective force that could result in the NCAA changing its ways.
The governor brings a lot of common sense to the approach, explaining, “This is the beginning of a national movement – one that transcends geographic and partisan lines. Collegiate student athletes put everything on the line – their physical health, future career prospects, and years of their lives to compete.”
He adds, “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.”
Colleges aren’t the only ones making a ton of money off the athletes – the NCAA does, as well. The organization has consistently fought against sports gambling because of what it dubs a risk to integrity. That’s a hypocritical stance, at best, given the amount of money it makes off players and because of the large integrity scandal the NCAA is now trying to put behind it.
The NCAA is reportedly weighing its options and considering how to respond to California’s new law. It has stated that suing the state isn’t out of the question, nor is preventing state teams from participating in NCAA championship events.
However, with other states following California’s lead, neither of these two choices seems to benefit the future of the organization, and it will most likely end up swallowing its pride and catching up with the times. In a statement addressing the matter, it seems to realize where it now stands and asserts, 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.”