WEB EXTRA: College athletes could be paid for endorsement deals with Fair Pay to Play Act


MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill that would clear the way for student athletes to be paid for endorsement deals and hire agents. It’s called Fair Pay to Play Act, and barring any legal challenge, the law would go into effect in 2023.

Opposition to compensating student athletes has been strong. The NCAA and PAC-12 Conference lobbied against the measure along side big schools such as California, Stanford, and Southern California.

The NCAA’s long-standing premise is that college athletes earn a degree, not money for playing sports.In 2018, college sports brought in more than $13 billion, and California leaders think students should get a cut of that. Newsom’s argument is that every student on any college campus can market their likeness on social media or online, but college athletes are prohibited from such activity.

The New Tri-State Defender sportswriter Lee Eric Smith sees much to be figured out before 2023.

“Should an athlete be able to stream video on YouTube and get paid from Google from that?” Smith asked.

“Then, does it matter if the athlete is James Wiseman at the University of Memphis who is the number 1 star athlete or is it different if it’s the lacrosse player at a division 2 school?”

Tennessee lawmakers are working on a law like California’s with strong bi-partisan support from Democratic Senator Katrina Robinson and Republican Senator Brian Kelsey.

“In changing the law in California, obviously it doesn’t change here in Tennessee or anywhere else in the country. So right now you have a set of laws that apply to student athletes in one state that don’t apply anywhere else. You could see why that causes all kinds of problems,” said Smith.    

The NCAA is threatening to declare California schools ineligible from playing in major tournaments and playoffs. This game is far from over.

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