California Governor Gavin Newsom has officially signed the Fair Play to Pay Act (SB 206) after unanimous approval from the California State Assembly. Effective January 1, 2023, the Fair Play to Pay Act prohibits “postsecondary educational institutions” in California, and “every athletic association, conference, or group or organization with authority over intercollegiate athletics” from preventing student athletes from “earning compensation as a result of the use of the student’s name, image, or likeliness.” Under the Act, student athletes in California will also be allowed to obtain professional representation for their participation in intercollegiate athletics, including legal representation and representation by sports agents. However, the Fair Play to Pay Act still prevents schools from directly paying student athletes.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has been in continuous opposition to this Act. As it stands, the NCAA prohibits student athletes from accepting compensation for the use of the student’s “name or picture to advertise, recommend or promote” commercial products or services. The NCAA argues that the Fair Play to Pay Act will remove fairness and equal treatment by giving recruiters an unfair advantage. The NCAA even threatened that it would ban California schools from competing in the league. However, the Fair Play to Pay Act prohibits an athletic association, conference, or organization from preventing the California schools from participating in intercollegiate athletics due to the compensation of a student athlete for the use of the student’s name, image, or likeness.
After Gov. Newsom signed the Fair Play to Pay Act, the NCAA acknowledged that changes are needed to support student athletes but claimed that such changes should be on a national level. While the future application of the Act is uncertain, especially under the NCAA, California has boldly taken the first step in reshaping the rights of student athletes.
Danielle Jenkins is an attorney in the Firm’s Franchise Law & Business Litigation Practice Groups. If you have any questions or concerns about this issue or any other matter, please contact Danielle directly at 813-223-1099.