Bill Allowing College Athletes to Earn Income Passes California Legislature

Written by Amanda Williams

While the California Legislature usually supports questionable legislation, this past Wednesday revealed a break in this normal pattern. Receiving support from both legislative chambers and political parties, SB 206 is currently in transit to Governor Newsom’s desk, where he will likely sign it into law. SB 206 passed the State Assembly 73-0 and the State Senate 39-0, indicating overwhelming bipartisan support for the legislation.

The purpose behind SB 206 is to allow collegiate athletes to obtain an income during their athletic tenure. If the bill becomes law, it would go into effect in 2023 and only apply to California universities that make $10 million or more from media rights and endorsements. The obvious benefit of the bill is the generation of income for college athletes while avoiding the ongoing salary debate that has been circulating throughout the collegiate athletic world over the past few years.

Besides receiving approval from both sides of the political realm, many other influential people have voiced their support. NBA players such as LeBron James and Draymond Green took to Twitter to express their support of the bill.

The bill, however, has been met with some opposition from the NCAA, which has affected certain California universities. NCAA bylaws explicitly state that college athletes are prohibited from accepting any type of paid endorsement and/or scholarship.

Furthermore, this past summer, the NCAA President advised lawmakers to proceed with caution, insinuating substantial consequences should SB 206 be approved. Certain universities, such as Stanford, the UCs, and the CSUs are challenging the bill to avoid the hefty NCAA fines and lost revenue.

In the end, state law likely takes precedence over NCAA bylaws. Members from both chambers recognize the warnings as harmless, while also having antitrust laws to supplement their argument should the NCAA be noncompliant.

In addition, the bill has taken the appropriate measures to prevent any endorsement conflicts. In the athlete’s contract, it explicitly states that the individual’s endorsement cannot conflict with the team’s current endorsement.

Lastly, SB 206 aims to help collegiate athletes support themselves since the time requirement of their sports often prohibits them from obtaining a job. Essentially, this bill would help mitigate any lost revenue due to the commitment of college athletics.


Photo by Jonathan Petersson