NCAA Warns California that ‘Fair Pay’ Bill is ‘Unconstitutional’

NCAA
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

The NCAA is warning California that a bill which would allow college athletes to be paid endorsement money is “unconstitutional,” and would materially harm college athletics nationwide.

On Monday, the state Assembly passed a bill to pay college athletes 72-0, and by Wednesday the state Senate also passed the bill 39-0. The bill is now headed to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk to sign into law.

But the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the organization that regulates college athletics, is striking out against the bill saying that it is not a legal measure, according to Fox News.

“It would erase the critical distinction between college and professional athletics,” the NCAA Board Of Governors said in a letter to Gov. Newsom. “These outcomes are untenable and would negatively impact more than 24,000 California student-athletes across three divisions.”

NCAA Board of Governors chair Michael Drake also noted that if athletes are allowed to make money off their images or names only in California, it will upset the balance across the country as all the best players clamor to move to schools in California.

Drake said that his organization will consider legal action if Newsom signs the bill into law.

This week’s statement is not the first time that the NCAA has warned California that it would strenuously oppose such a law.

In June, the NCAA warned the state legislature that California schools could find themselves barred from NCAA tournaments if the bill becomes law.

The bill introduced by state Senator Nancy Skinner prevents the NCAA and colleges from taking away athletic scholarships from any student accused of profiting from his name, image, or likeness.

“To me, this is fundamental fairness,” Sen. Skinner told ESPN. “California law basically gives each of us the right that no one can use my name, market my name or make money off of my name, or my photo, without my permission, or without sharing that revenue with me. The only people in the entire state of California for whom that is the case are student-athletes.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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