The State of California passes the “Fair Pay to Play Act” causing controversy

The NCAA hasn’t allowed student-athletes to make money off of their own name for its entire 109-year existence, and they haven’t entertained the thought of changing this. On Sept. 11, an opportunity to change college athletics presented itself only needing one signature. The passing of AB-206, also known as the “Fair Pay to Play Act,” in the state of California has the entire sports world asking all kinds of questions. 

The significance of this bill is unquestionable since it could change college athletics in its entirety, especially because other states have already been rumored to follow suit with California legislation. 

Allowing student-athletes to hire agents and be paid for the use of their name, image or likeness is a drastic step in this grueling process. To be clear, the law would not be enforced until 2023; therefore, it would give the NCAA time to adjust their thinking and rules to adhere to the situation.

Whether student-athletes should be paid or not has been heavily debated for many years. The problem with the debate is that not many people could come up with a realistic solution. 

Solutions such as paying every college athlete the same amount doesn’t seem fair. The fact of the matter is certain sports have higher revenues than others. Also, not every athlete is equal to one another in terms of talent. AB-206 doesn’t promote equality but instead, it creates a more realistic option; one that has the ability to thrive. 

Although our society may not be the most equal place, our forefathers set out to create a culture of equality. If this bill were to be signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom, it would be because it is constitutional. The role of a governor is to pass bills that are constitutional. 

The fact that the NCAA has robbed student-athletes of their own rights for this long is a head-scratcher. Student-athletes are not even allowed to serve as personal assistants/instructors or summer coaches to make money. The NCAA forces their athletes to work jobs that have nothing to do with (in most cases) the students’ passions. 

Most college athletes have decided to continue to play their sport in college because they love it and have a passion for it. Perhaps the NCAA should start allowing their athletes to start working on their future in sports.

At the end of the day, this will bring more exposure to student-athletes in the NCAA, which will bring more responsibility to the NCAA. Depending on which way the NCAA will take that phrase could be the difference in the way this organization is run, from a fundamental standpoint. This bill could help the NCAA promote and ensure the futures of their athletes like they already claim to do. They will be losing a little bit of profit but they will be living up to what their organization is founded upon. And, to be fair, they will not be taking nearly a big enough hit to the point in which they won’t still be making excessive amounts of money. 

The NCAA is responsible for preparing its student-athletes for what comes next after college. There are so many responsibilities in life that come after school ends. Being able to handle things like money and endorsements, or even creating their own brand, could give them an incredible head start for their future. 

Overall, it is clear that the NCAA has some things to figure out. Mahatma Gandhi said it best, “The future depends on what we do in the present.” I’d say 109 years is a long enough time to wait for change. If I could talk to Gov. Newsom, I would tell him to live by Gandhi’s famous words. Regardless of if he chooses to pass the bill or not, it is pretty evident that the future of college athletics has a lot on the line in this scenario.