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California’s New Paid Student Athlete Law Quickly Spreads To Other States

Five states follow California’s lead and propose legislation against the wishes of the NCAA

By Evan Symon, October 26, 2019 2:07 am

UCLA, one of dozens of universities in California who will give compensation to athletes beginning in 2023. (Onefootdown)

Last month’s signing of SB 206, which allows student athletes to receive compensation for their image or likeness being used, has inspired numerous states to enact their own legislation in only a matter of weeks.

New York, Florida, South Carolina, Minnesota, and Georgia all currently have pending legislation, with many more states expected to announce their own bills in the coming weeks.

Some states who recently proposed legislation did so despite being wary of California policy in general. This includes Florida, whose Governor announced Thursday that he would back a law allowing NCAA student-athletes to receive compensation.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis spoke favorably about the Fair Pay to Play Act. (Wikipedia)

“Other people make a lot of money using their name, image and likeness but they under current NCAA rules are not permitted to do that,” stated Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. “When I look to see good policy ideas, California usually is not the first place I look, but I think California is on the right track.”

Similarly, New York, the first state to introduce legislation after California’s bill, has also found itself in support of similar legislation despite not always agreeing with California politics. New York Senate Bill S6722A, proposed by New York State Senator Kevin S. Parker, has an altered form of California’s new law, proposing that the NCAA itself set aside 15% of all revenue for student-athletes.

“I think providing real income for student-athletes was really going for it,” said State Representative Parker of his bill.

The impact of California and New York have also influenced states usually behind the NCAA and their athletic conferences. Georgia, which last year was firmly behind the NCAA in blocking any sort of student-athlete payment, recently broke the mold with another SB 206 inspired bill being announced. Georgia, which has college football powerhouses such as the University of Georgia and other famed athletic programs at schools such as Georgia Tech, is afraid what paid student-athletes could mean to recruiting new students to their universities.

“With this legislation, Georgia hereby joins a rapidly growing number of states that have filed similar legislation, or are in the process of doing so,” said Georgia State Representative Billy Mitchell. “Not only is this an idea whose time has come, but Georgia schools would be at a decisive disadvantage when it comes to recruiting with other states that join California in implementing this act if we fail to do the same.”

Senator Nancy Skinner sponsored SB 206. (Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

SB 206, which was sponsored by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), is scheduled to come into law in 2023, with other states current target dates being around then as well. If more states introduce and pass legislation, such as other college athlete heavy states such as Texas, Ohio, and Michigan, then the NCAA may simply announce their own rules on the matter.

But until then, California’s Fair Pay To Play Act seems to be continuing to inspire other states to help their athletes receive compensation, as well as not lag behind other states in getting the best athletes.

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Evan Symon
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