SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — California legislation to allow student-athletes to make money from their sport will face another hurdle tomorrow, but there could be an even bigger hurdle ahead.
The president of the NCAA is threatening retaliation if the bill passes.
Student-athletes at Sacramento State and other California universities put in hours of work for their sport but don’t get paid. Now, it’s possible they could face an outright ban from some competitions.
The NCAA reportedly brought in more than a billion dollars in the 2016-17 fiscal year, but student-athletes did get any of it. The California Fair Pay to Play Act would give athletes an opportunity to earn money. But if the bill becomes law, California universities could be barred from NCAA events.
“I think it’s a direct threat to California to say that these schools and these athletes will be punished in some way if we take this position,” said California Senator Steven Bradford.
Bradford co-authored the bill with senator Nancy Skinner.
She released a statement saying:
“The NCAA and colleges and universities pocket billions of dollars a year from TV and corporate sponsorships, while student-athletes are blocked from receiving income for their talent and hard work. So, it’s not surprising that the NCAA would be worried about legislation that seeks to change the status quo.”
Bradford compared student-athletes to students using their talents for other endeavors.
“If you are a computer tech student and you come up with an app, you can sell that app and make money while you’re still in college, so if you’re an athlete and you’re playing a sport why shouldn’t you be able to benefit off of that skill,” said Bradford.
The bill, SB206, would not allow direct payments, but athletes would be able to hire agents and receive compensation for the use of their image, name or likeness.
One report indicates more than 80% of students on full scholarships live at or below the federal poverty level.
“So if there’s an opportunity for them to benefit in some way to provide some means down the road, I think this is a great opportunity to do so,” said Bradford.
The bill goes before the Committee on Art, Entertainment and Sports Tuesday. If it passes, there are still many other legislative steps to go through. If it eventually becomes law, it would take effect in 2023.