With the college football season in full swing, the seemingly constant conversation of paying NCAA athletes returned when Gov. Gavin Newsom signed off on SB 206, more commonly known as the Fair Pay to Play Act.
According to ESPN, the act would make it illegal for colleges in the state to take away an athlete’s scholarship or eligibility if an athlete profited off their name, image, or likeness.
The bill will go into effect in 2023.
The NCAA is a multi-billion-dollar corporation, which profits directly off young adults who may never even see a paycheck because of their athletic abilities. Because of this, to no one’s surprise, the NCAA instantly fought back, citing that the bill itself was unconstitutional.
With something so controversial, every person who has a media platform voiced an opinion. Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James — who didn’t go to college — has publicly supported the bill, but former college football player and NFL star Tim Tebow opposes it.
Signing the bill during James’ HBO online show “The Shop,” Newsom joined James, WNBA legend Diana Taurasi, former UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi, among others as the groundbreaking bill became a law in California.
“It’s going to change college sports for the better by having now the interest finally of the athletes on par with the interests of the institutions,” Newsom said.
Tebow said during ESPN’s television program “First Take,” that he opposes the bill because college sports should be about the team and not individual athletes’ brands.
“Yes, I know we live in a selfish culture where it’s all about us, but we’re just adding and piling on to that where it changes what’s special about college football,” Tebow said.
Often considered as the greatest college football quarterback of all time, Tebow captivated the nation at Florida. However, not every single athlete in the NCAA can have the luxury of knowing they’re going to have a career and are privileged enough to even receive a scholarship.
I believe Tebow doesn’t fully grasp the concept, considering he feels he can do whatever he wants, being 32 and deciding to chase a childhood dream and play professional baseball, for fun — while his teammates in the minor leagues are struggling to even put food on the table.
After the bill was signed, collegiate athletes can profit off signing autographs, endorsing products, and their namesake. Just like any other athlete.
Student athletes will not be paid by colleges to play their sport and wouldn’t be able to access profits generated for games.
Popular college sports like college softball is a perfect example as to why paying college athletes would be beneficial. The Women’s College World Series is arguably the pinnacle of softball in this country.
Every year the WCWS dominates the college sports market, and every year, a softball player steals the show. Imagine if during the peak of her career, she could make a few bucks to set her up for her post-collegiate life since there is a slim-to-none chance softball can become their career.
One concern the NCAA has is an increase of athletes wanting to only come to California, so the NCAA has threatened to remove all teams in the state’s ability to compete in bowl games or playoffs.
As it stands, the Fair Pay to Play Act is strongly opposed by the UC system and the PAC-12 Conference.
Let California be a trailblazer for the nation and lay the groundwork for the future of college sports, as it appears to be headed that way with Florida State University football coach Willie Taggart agreeing with the bill.
In a press conference, Taggart said that times have changed and we need to adapt to the changes of college sports.
College sports fans spend their lives devoted to teams and its time to start treating the student athletes like humans and not cash cows.