Newsom v. NCAA: Will the Fair Play to Pay Act Succeed?

Talia Weiner, Staff Writer

On September 30, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced something completely unexpected: the Fair Play to Pay Act. Planned to launch in 2023, this first-of-its-kind bill will allow college athletes to hire their own agents and sign their own endorsement deals, meaning they’ll be able to profit from their personal brand, similar to professional athletes.


Though this would benefit countless college athletes, who are quite honestly being exploited for their physical abilities with little regard for their health and time, the news of this bill was not well-received. Both the NCAA and the Pac-12 petitioned it immediately, and have threatened expulsion from the league if colleges participate in the changes enacted from this act, which has left many institutions uneasy. In justification, the NCAA, a multibillion-dollar organization that profits greatly from these individuals, claims the bill to be “unconstitutional” and unfair to college athletes in other states.


However, Newsom doesn’t see it this way. He mentions that “every single student in the university can market their name, image and likeness; they can go and get a YouTube channel, and they can monetize that. The only group that can’t are athletes.” Newsom’s right; in this day and age, the ability to promote your own image has become easily accessible. It seems unjust to prohibit college athletes from doing the same as anyone else, especially since most of them are working nonstop throughout their college career to prepare for the pros. For the athletes who won’t make it to the next level, this bill is particularly important because college is the only time when they can actually profit from their athletic accomplishments.


It is unclear yet on what legal action the NCAA will take, but California officials pressed on against the threats and unanimously passed the act. Newsom made an appearance on a new show, hosted by LeBron James, where he signed the bill for all to see, sending a clear message; he will see this change through, no matter the obstacle. Though the bill only reaches California, it’s probable that other disgruntled states will join this course soon enough.