California college athletes could cash in sooner with NCAA decision on NIL

In summary

California’s landmark law allowing college athletes to sign paid sponsorship agreements has started a national movement. With the NCAA no longer banning athlete compensation, advocates are pushing to speed implementation of the law and extend it to cover community college players.

Advocates for college athlete compensation in California are on a roll. First, the state passed the country’s first law allowing gamers to sign paid sponsorship agreements, and 20 states followed suit. Now, with both a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling and a rule change from the National Collegiate Athletic Association challenging the idea that students shouldn’t make money with athletics, Lawmakers are pushing to move the California law’s effective date to this fall and extend it to cover community college athletes.

“The ideals of amateurism have weakened over time, not only with the movements of players, the movements of defenders, but also because of the litigation that is going on now,” said Eddie Comeaux, professor of higher education. at UC Riverside studying varsity athletics.

The NCAA previously prohibited athletes from earning money for their performances, outside of purses. But the Supreme Court’s 9-0 ruling on June 21 also allows colleges to cover up to $ 6,000 a year in athlete education expenses, such as laptops and college programs. ‘foreign. While this did not directly destroy the NCAA model of amateurism, a concurring opinion from Judge Brett Kavanaugh signaled a willingness to do so, raising hope among defenders that other possibilities for player compensation. could be on the horizon.

On Wednesday, the NCAA announced it would not penalize athletes for taking advantage of state laws like California’s that allow them to profit from the use of their name, image and likeness.

“With the variety of state laws passed across the country, we will continue to work with Congress to develop a solution that will provide clarity at the national level,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement. hurry.

“The Supreme Court ruling basically told the NCAA you have to follow the law, you are not immune from antitrust laws, you cannot be a monopoly,” said Senator Nancy Skinner, author of the Fair Pay to Play Act, which passed the California legislature in 2019. It is now pushing a bill which amends the law to come into effect on September 1 rather than 2023. It was passed by the Assembly’s higher education committee this week and is expected to receive a two-thirds vote from the Assembly and be signed by the governor to become law.

State laws give college athletes the chance to earn money Opportunities also went into effect Thursday in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, New Mexico and Mississippi.

Supporting varsity athletes on social media could eventually grow into a $ 2 billion market, said Thilo Kunkel, director of Temple University’s Sport Industry Research Center and founder of an app called Sprter, which helps gamers get started. create and monetize their personal brands. Kunkel said his research found that the average college athlete with a few thousand followers could expect to do about $ 2,000 per year in additional revenue from social media endorsements.

“Most people won’t get rich with them, but, you know, if you make $ 2,000 more a year, it’s $ 50 a week, it’s kind of here, it’s kind of there.” , did he declare.

Athletes on the Sprter app can sign sponsorship agreements, sell social media posts, and book in-person experiences such as a training session with fans. This is just one of many businesses already growing as the new NCAA rules take effect this week. Hanna and Haley Caviinder, twin sisters who play for the Fresno State basketball team, told ESPN they already signed their first sponsorship deal with Boost Mobile on Wednesday.

Unlike the original Fair Play to Pay Act, Skinner’s new bill would give California community college athletes the same freedom to enjoy their name, image, and likeness as their peers at universities across four. years. The bill has the support of the chancellor’s office at California Community College.

“Students shouldn’t have to sit around and watch others enjoy their hard work and work without being fairly paid for it, just because they participate in varsity sports – and that also includes our many student-athletes. community colleges, ”spokesman Rafael Chávez said in a statement to CalMatters.

John Beam, athletic director and head football coach at Laney College in Oakland, said the inclusion of athletes from the state’s community colleges would be a huge victory. He said that while not all athletes will be able to take advantage of the money-making opportunities, this is an important first step in restoring a sense of humanity in the way college athletes are treated.

“We have kids who are hungry every day and I can’t bring, you know, a cup of noodles to give them,” Beam said. “We’re not talking about a meal plan, we’re talking about survival food. So hopefully that will trickle down to us to allow us to really take care of our student athletes as we should.

Athletes, including Elias Escobar, a football player at Laney College, said the opportunity to earn extra money could help cover basic needs such as rent, food and gas for his trip to at campus.

Being an athlete, Escobar said, is “like a full-time job and I don’t get paid for it”.

“There were times when I didn’t even go to class because I didn’t have money for gasoline to put in my car, or like, I go to school and I don’t eat. all day, ”he said.

California’s two public university systems, the University of California and California State University, said they were monitoring the bill. “UC continues to work with Senator Skinner and members of the state legislature to ensure the University is ready for a fast-track September 1 implementation date,” the spokesperson said. Ryan King in a statement.

Some defenders of college players want to go even further. A bill this year, State Senator Sydney Kamlager reportedly required colleges to pay their athletes a levy for the use of their name, image and likeness if the income generated by a sports program is more than double the amount it awards in sports scholarships. The bill, introduced when Kamlager was a member of the assembly, would also have strengthened the enforcement of Title IX, the federal law prohibiting gender discrimination in sports and other educational programs, and capped the salaries of college coaches.

He stalled in the assembly. But recent Supreme Court and NCAA rulings could pave the way for California to take more aggressive action on athlete compensation in the future, said Ramogi Huma, executive director of the National College Players Association, who defends the rights of university athletes.

“A 9-0 decision saying this is an exploitative industry and that varsity athletes deserve more compensation should be a green light for the state of California to once again reshape varsity sports. ‘a fairer way for the players,’ said Huma.

Reagan is an intern at the CalMatters College Journalism Network, a collaboration between CalMatters and student journalists from across California. This story and other higher education coverages are supported by the College Futures Foundation.

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