The NCAA is giving California an ultimatum.
Earlier this week, the state of California passed a bill that would allow student-athletes to profit off endorsement deals. It would allow collegiate athletes to use their names, images, and likeness to put money in their pockets. It was a pivotal step in getting the legislation turned into a bill.
Now, the bill goes to Governor Gavin Newsom, who has 30 days to either sign or veto the bill. If he does nothing within that time frame, it becomes law.
Obviously, that bill conflicts with the NCAA’s amateurism policy and could rattle the foundation on which the organization has been built on. And after learning of the bill passing, it issued somewhat of a warning to Gov. Newsom of what could happen if it becomes a law.
California Senate Bill 206 would upend that balance. If the bill becomes law and California’s 58 NCAA schools are compelled to allow an unrestricted name, image and likeness scheme, it would erase the critical distinction between college and professional athletics and, because it gives those schools an unfair recruiting advantage, would result in them eventually being unable to compete in NCAA competitions. These outcomes are untenable and would negatively impact more than 24,000 California student-athletes across three divisions.
Right now, nearly half a million student-athletes in all 50 states compete under the same rules. The bill would remove that essential element of fairness and equal treatment that forms the bedrock of college sports.
It will be interesting to see how California and Gov. Newsom moves forward.