Less than two months after California passed a law allowing collegiate student athletes in California to be compensated for their image, likeness, or name being used, the NCAA has announced that it will be allowed nationwide. Initially the NCAA vowed to place numerous sanctions against them if students started to receive money.
California’s law inspired other states to either introduce or announce the introduction of similar bills to compete in the more competitive student athlete environment California created. Since late September states with powerful athletic universities including Georgia, Florida, and New York have joined California, with recent announcements by Illinois and several other states in the past 72 hours, fueling the NCAA Board of Governors to act quickly on a vote.
Chairman of the NCAA Board of Governors Michael V. Drake released a statement after the unanimous decision.
“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” stated Drake. “Additional flexibility in this area can and must continue to support college sports as a part of higher education. This modernization for the future is a natural extension of the numerous steps NCAA members have taken in recent years to improve support for student-athletes, including full cost of attendance and guaranteed scholarships.”
The statement also clarified what the NCAA was now working on for full implementation, including how rules and fines would be addressed, how it would maintain an education priority, and making sure collegiate and professional duties are separate. All universities across the NCAA’s three divisions are to provide recommendations on the new program in April.
In California, lawmakers who had championed the student athlete law in California were ecstatic over the news Tuesday.
Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), who co-authored the Californian student athlete compensation bill SB 206, released a statement on how his bill is now affecting thousands of universities across the country.
“I applaud the NCAA Board of Governors who made the right decision to support our student athletes, not just in California, but across the U.S. While I question whether or not this special committee and vote would have occurred if our bill was not introduced and passed by the Legislature, this is nonetheless a major step forward bringing about greater equity and fairness to a system that generates billions off of the backs of our talented and hardworking athletes.”
“This is a step in the right direction, and the NCAA deserves credit for finally affirming what has been common sense to so many for so long. California will be closely watching as the NCAA’s process moves forward to ensure the rules ultimately adopted are aligned with the legislation we passed this year.”
“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 model puts institutions ahead of the students they are supposed to serve and deserves to be disrupted.”
The NCAA had closely watched the progress of SB 206, also known as the Fair Pay To Play Act, since the beginning of the year. In addition to opposing any sort of compensation for student athletes, the NCAA was also against the bill allowing sports agents being used to represent college athletes. NCAA president Mark Emmert, citing an unfair advantage that paying student athletes caused, even threatened all California universities from participating in any post-regular season tournaments. Emmert has only accepted the compensation change after yesterday’s NCAA vote.
While California’s law states that compensation for student-athletes will begin in 2023, with similar dates being announced in other states legislation, there has been no official word from the NCAA on when the new changes and rules will take effect nationwide.
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