There was a real-world vibe on LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s Uninterrupted talk show The Shop today as California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill that gives the state’s college student-athletes the ability to benefit financially from their name, image and likeness.
The Fair Pay to Play Act (SB 206) is the first of its kind in the U.S. It addresses the NCAA’s longstanding ban on student athletes earning compensation from their association with college sports even though their respective school can make millions from their athletic performance.
Newsom signed the legislation live on The Shop alongside James — a vocal proponent of the bill — Carter, UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi, WNBA star Diana Taurasi, former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon, James’ agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports Group and the bill’s co-sponsor, state Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley).
“This is the No. 1 reason why we created this platform,” James said on The Shop, “to have moments like this.” Watch the bill signing below.
Nationwide, colleges and universities make $14 billion each year from student athletics, and the NCAA takes in $1 billion annually. The issue was a major plot point on HBO’s Ballers this past season.
“Colleges and universities reap billions from these student athletes’ sacrifices and success but block them from earning a single dollar,” Newsom said. “That’s a bankrupt model — one that puts institutions ahead of the students they are supposed to serve.”
Added James: “This is a game changer for student athletes and for equity in sports,” James said. “Athletes at every level deserve to be empowered and to be fairly compensated for their work, especially in a system where so many are profiting off of their talents. Part of the reason I went to the NBA was to get my mom out of the situation she was in. I couldn’t have done that in college with the current rules in place. This bill will help student athletes who are in a similar situation.”
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