California's New Law Signals Opportunities for College Athletes - The Miami Hurricane

Though many students who play sports for their respective colleges, universities, and D1 schools hope to go pro, according to NCAA Recruiting Facts, only 2 percent of student athletes succeed in going forth in their sport as professionals. Statistics also show that 86 percent of student athletes live in poverty. With these statistics in mind, it is safe to say that a student who spends much of their time training and maintaining their physical peak, while playing countless hours on the field, expect some form of payout, whether by becoming a professional player, acquiring economic sustenance or even a full or partial ride at his or her school. There is rigorous debate about whether or not college athletes should be paid in light of a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newson allowing college athletes to be involved in endorsement deals.

Although there are experts who think removing the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rules could corrupt the game, it's incredibly presumptuous of people to assume college students would carry a care-free, 4-year college career with very few financial worries. You cannot expect mostly struggling young and broke college students who have to focus on multiple classes, their social life, acquiring internships or other opportunities and financial stability to happily volunteer much of their time to only have the benefits affect the school they attend and not them. The NCAA reportedly made 1 billion dollars in revenue in 2017, and as of recent years, the validity of the apparent equivalency of the transaction between student player and the school have been questioned. The course of action was especially pioneered by former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon who filed a lawsuit seeking reimbursements for student athletes.

Thanks to ED O'Bannon and many other athletes and supporters, enough was protested for California law-makers to consider student players’ opportunity to receive pension for their efforts. The efforts that grant schools that are famous for said sports accomplishments, notoriety, sponsorships and donations, funds towards the upgrade of training centers and other school building, and more.

The senate bill that was approved by the state filed under SB 206, Skinner. Collegiate athletics: student athlete compensation and representation states that according to the Student Athlete Bill of Rights “intercollegiate athletic programs at 4-year private universities or campuses of the University of California or the California State University that receive, as an average, $10,000,000 or more in annual revenue derived from media rights for intercollegiate athletics…” must grant said student athletes with a list of demands and compliances that the bill requires.

This bill grants the student the right to pursue representation by licensed personnel. It also protects the student’s grants and scholarships given to them by their respective institutions, making said collectives independent from any compensation they may receive in the future. In other words, a college cannot revoke any grants or scholarships due to future compensations or higher earnings from other parties. The bill, however, denies a student to enter a contract that will contradict the contract of the school’s team. Another protective rule states a team contract under the school may not prohibit the athlete from participating in commercializing their name or image as long as the athlete is not participating in official team activities.

There are professional athletes, basketball stars Draymond Green and Lebron James specifically, that have come out in support of the new law. Green tweeted “Extremely excited about the bill that passed tonight allowing players to be paid. Finally, we are making some progress and getting this thing right. Kids going to sleep hungry, can’t afford ANYTHING yet these Universities are profiting off those same kids. SIGN IT!!”

This bill will legally be set in motion January 1, 2023. Californian student athletes who graduate before the year 2023 will unfortunately miss this opportunity to greater compensation for their efforts, and even so, there are rules towards what type of schools can provide such requital. This is just the beginning of the regime change towards a better future for athletes.

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