California NCAA Athletes Inch Closer to Earning Compensation

As previously reported, a California bill that would allow student-athletes to be paid for their likenesses has cleared yet another legal hurdle.

The closely followed bill would allow college athletes to enjoy the capital gained from their name, images, and likeness. Under current NCAA rules, student-athletes are not permitted to accept payment for, or permit, “the use of his or her name or picture to advertise, recommend, or promote” the commercial sale of goods, or use their likeness to promote a service or product.

The Fair Pay to Play bill would further protect athletes from losing eligibility by receiving such benefits. The rule is designed to prevent students from receiving compensation for their status as amateur college athletes outside of standard athletic scholarships and other forms of financial aid.

The NCAA rule banning students from profiting from their images and likeness has not been without controversy, most notably with the O’Bannon case in 2009. O’Bannon challenged the NCAA with U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilkin finding that student-athletes could receive up to $5,000 per year for their names, images, and likenesses. Although that portion of the holding was overturned on appeal, the case did allow for costs rising above tuition to be paid, a major breakthrough in the fight for student-athletes to receive more than just scholarships.

The bill has recently gained even more traction, receiving a seal of approval from California legislators. “Yes! My bill, #SB206 – which will give California college athletes the rights to monetize their name, image, and likeness – just won unanimous approval from the Assembly Appropriations Committee,” said Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, on Twitter.

It’s unclear how the NCAA will respond if the measure is signed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

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