The NCAA is moving forward with a plan to allow college athletes to earn money for endorsements and a host of other activities involving personal appearances and social media. (Keith Srakocic / Associated Press)
Hilda L. Solis Learning Academy

New California bill allows college athletes to earn money

For the first time, California college athletes will be able to earn profit from the use of their names. Last fall, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law the Fair Pay to Play Act which allows college players to collect endorsement money from big-name companies without getting punished by NCAA officials, according to NPR

The National Collegiate Athletic Assn. has received harsh criticism for the way they handle certain situations with their players. 

Collegiate student athletes put everything on the line — their physical health, future career prospects, and years of their lives to compete,” Newsom said in a statement. “Colleges reap billions from these student athletes’ sacrifices and success but, in the same breath, block them from earning a single dollar. That’s a bankrupt model — one that puts institutions ahead of the students they are supposed to serve. It needs to be disrupted.”

The action by the governor received high praise from college athletes and many professional level players. Newsom indicates that this is only the beginning of college athletes getting fair treatment for their level of play. 

Whether college athletes should be compensated was a debate for many years. Many of these college athletes tried not to give their opinion on the situation because they could risk punishment for violating some of the rules set by the NCAA.

The punishments range from suspensions to even getting scholarships taken away. The NCAA is still unhappy about the new rule, according to NPR, saying it creates unfairness since athletes at California schools will be getting paid but not in other states. 

This situation did not stop many professional athletes from speaking out and voicing their own views on the matter. In a 2018 locker room press meeting, Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James called the NCAA “corrupt” and said that the NBA should “develop their minor league” to give an alternative option for young basketball players, according to ESPN.

Besides professional athletes giving their opinions, many people in the community also have thoughts. 

“Universities nowadays get thousands of dollars from games that their students play and they do not get compensated anyway,” Ruben Salazar, the coach of a middle school basketball team in Boyle Heights said.

His disagreement with the NCAA’s previous no-pay policy shows how much he cares about his players. He wants the best for them because they are the future athletes that, hopefully, will one day play professionally. 

One other reason that Ruben feels that players should get compensated is that “universities use the faces of these players to earn money.”                                                

Friends and family members of these college athletes are also concerned.

“Compensating players can help pay off certain things in schools, such as books or any other materials needed for school,” Mellisa Saucedo, a college student from the University of Central Florida said.

As a college student, she said she knows how hard it is to pay for certain items at school, especially for those with low income. 

“[Raul] got injured in a game and had to have surgery, and it made me think about what the school could do to help him financially,” Serena Davis, the parent of basketball player Raul Davis, also said. 

She fears that paying out of pocket for these kinds of treatments will lead her to a shortage of money. 

Though the NCAA has agreed to changes finally, there is still a struggle to figure out how the new rules will be implemented by 2023. Until then, college players will have to continue to play without hopes of receiving a paycheck.