NCAA urges California governor not to sign ‘fair pay’ bill
President Renu Khator joined 21 other NCAA representatives Wednesday morning in urging California Gov. Gavin Newsom to not sign a bill aimed at allowing student athletes to profit off their names, likenesses and images.
Khator, whose term with the NCAA Board of Governors ends in Aug. 2023, signed the letter warning Newsom that the bill may be unconstitutional.
“We urge the state of California to reconsider this harmful and, we believe, unconstitutional bill and hope the state will be a constructive partner in our efforts to develop a fair name, image and likeness approach for all 50 states,” the six-paragraph letter said in part.
Known as the Fair Pay to Play Act, the bill was passed unanimously by the California State Assembly on Monday and by the state Senate earlier in the year. The bill, the NCAA said, would unfairly benefit California schools, which would result in them losing eligibility.
“If the bill becomes law and California’s 58 NCAA schools are compelled to allow an unrestricted name, image and likeness scheme,” the NCAA said, “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 NCAA believes the Fair Pay to Play Act, officially known as California Senate Bill 206, would also hurt thousands of student athletes in the state.
“These outcomes are untenable and would negatively impact more than 24,000 California student-athletes across three divisions.” the letter said.
Sydney Kamlager-Dove, a member of the state Assembly who sponsored the Fair Pay to Play Act, said Monday that California can handle any warnings the NCAA throws at it regarding the bill, which would go into effect in 2023 should Newsom sign it.
“I just want to say, ‘NCAA, don’t threaten California. Don’t threaten us,’ ” Kamlager-Dove said to USA Today. “I’m sick of being leveraged by the NCAA on the backs of athletes who have the right to their own name and image.”