The California State Assembly has passed legislation to let college athletes make money off of their name, image, or likeness.
The Fair Pay to Play Act would also let college athletes hire agents and stop universities and the NCAA from banning athletes who take the money.
The measure – which would go into effect on January 1, 2023, if passed – sets up an expected confrontation with the NCAA and the Pac-12 Conference, which has four of its member schools in California.
“We’re firmly against anything that would lead to a pay-for-play system,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott told the New York Times.
The NCAA has warned the bill could mean California universities would be ineligible for national championships as they would have an unfair recruiting advantage.
Last week, LA Lakers superstar LeBron James, who did not attend college, expressed his support of the bill before it was provisionally passed. “This law is a GAME CHANGER,” James tweeted. “College athletes can responsibly get paid for what they do and the billions they create.”
The California Senate must take a final vote on the bill by Friday. It would then head to the desk of Governor Gavin Newsom, who would have 30 days to sign it into law.