Defying the NCAA, California's governor signed a first-in-the-nation law Monday that will let college athletes hire agents and make money from endorsements - a move that could upend amateur sports in the U.S. and trigger a legal challenge.
Under the law, which takes effect in 2023, students at public and private universities in the state will be allowed to sign deals with sneaker companies, soft drink makers or other advertisers and profit from their images, names or likenesses, just like the pros.
He predicted other states will introduce similar legislation. Two lawmakers in South Carolina have already announced plans to do so.
The new law applies to all sports, though the big money to be made is in football and basketball. It bars schools from kicking athletes off the team if they get paid. It does not apply to community colleges and prohibits athletes from accepting endorsement deals that conflict with their schools' existing contracts.
The NCAA, which had asked Newsom to veto the bill, responded by saying it will consider its "next steps" while also moving forward with "efforts to make adjustments to NCAA name, image and likeness rules that are both realistic in modern society and tied to higher education."
With files from the Associated Press
As a membership organization, the NCAA agrees changes are needed to continue to support student-athletes, but improvement needs to happen on a national level through the NCAA’s rules-making process. Unfortunately, this new law already is creating confusion for current and future student-athletes, coaches, administrators and campuses, and not just in California. We will consider next steps in California while our members move forward with ongoing efforts to make adjustments to NCAA name, image and likeness rules that are both realistic in modern society and tied to higher education. As more states consider their own specific legislation related to this topic, it is clear that a patchwork of different laws from different states will make unattainable the goal of providing a fair and level playing field for 1,100 campuses and nearly half a million student-athletes nationwide.
Marc Edelman, professor at Baruch College, City University of New York, where he specializes in sports law and antitrust law
Clinton Speegle, attorney with Lightfoot, Franklin & White Law, a Birmingham-based law firm who works on the firm’s NCAA Compliance & Investigations team