California’s SB 206 Would Pay Student Athletes

Michael Dumansky and Eduardo Carreno

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On Sept. 8, the California State Assembly unanimously passed Senate Bill 206 or most notably known as, “The Fair Pay to Play Bill.” This bill allows student athletes from the University of California and California State University school system to be able to profit off their name, image and likeness. This bill has come under fire from the National Collegiate Athletic Association President Mark Emmert. In a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsome, the NCAA voiced their concern about the bill.

“If the bill becomes law and California’s 58 NCAA schools are compelled to allow an unrestricted name, image and likeness scheme, it would erase the critical distinction between college and professional athletics and, because it gives those schools an unfair recruiting advantage, would result in them eventually being unable to compete in NCAA competitions,” the letter said.

State Sen. Nancy Skinner, who was one of the authors of the bill, called the NCAA’s warnings mere scare tactics.

El Vaquero reached out to several division one student athletes in California but all declined to comment about the bill.    

Notable figures such as NBA star Lebron James and Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders gave their support via twitter.

“Everyone in California — call your politicians and tell them to support SB 206!  This law is a GAME CHANGER. College athletes can responsibly get paid for what they do and the billions they create,” James wrote on Twitter.

Sanders made a similar comment, albeit more brief: “College athletes are workers. Pay them.”

The bill is currently on Gov. Newsom’s desk. If it becomes law, it will take effect on Jan. 1, 2023.

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