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California Governor Gavin Newsom Signs Bill Allowing Athletes to Benefit From Likenesses

In a move that was partly done to draw the maximum amount of attention, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the bill on LeBron James’ “The Shop” show.

The LA Times has more.

The bill would prohibit the NCAA from barring a university from competition if its athletes are compensated for the use of their name, image or likeness beginning in 2023. NCAA rules strictly prohibit athletes from profiting in any way from their sports.

While the bill would allow athletes to sign endorsement deals with major companies, it would also open up smaller opportunities that were previously prohibited, such as paid youth coaching positions. SB 206 would still forbid schools from directly paying athletes.

This has been widely seen as a precursor to a more broader groundswell of NCAA reform. New York state is mulling a similar bill. The overall thrust of this reform is to share the wealth generated by college athletes, with well, college athletes.

The more egregious examples of the NCAA’s amateurism rules prevent athletes from profiting from their name and likenesses in endeavors that are unrelated to the sport they play. The disparity between a “regular” student and an athlete is already stark, and this bill would allow the more marketable athletes to earn some money to defray the cost of living.

College is more expensive than ever, and even though universities are swagging out locker rooms and athletic centers, that does not always put food on the table, pay rent, or put spending money in pockets.

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