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The wages of sports is . . . more wages?

Throughout the history of collegiate athletics in the United States, student athletes have been prohibited from receiving compensation to compete. However, this will be changing according to a recent bill passed in California in September.

Senate Bill 206, known as the Fair Pay to Play Act, states that it will be legal for athletes to accept income for the use of their name, image and likeness. Endorsements, financial deals and anything that shows off their athletic skills are just some of the ways that student athletes in California will be able to earn some extra money. 

ORU women’s basketball assistant coach, Lee Mayberry, sees the benefits for many student athletes who are willing to take this opportunity.

“All students attend college in pursuit of a successful future. I believe this statement is very true for student athletes as well,” Coach Lee explained. “Not every student who is working toward a successful professional future has the financial resources necessary. As a college coach, we can say to our athletes ‘you are receiving a college degree with additional resources while doing what you love to do.’”

If an athlete chooses to follow it, the university or coach will not be able to block the contract or exclude a player from engaging in official team activities. Also, an athlete cannot sign into a brand contract that is not the same brand contract as their institution. 

In certain ways, this law is a threat to the NCAA rules and regulations that have been set in stone for many years, that has made it possible for every university within their own conference to have fair rights. This law raises the questions of fair recruitment for athletes that are doing things to get noticed by coaches in and out of the state and how it blurs the fine line between college and professional sports. 

Good communication is the one thing that many people are counting on until the “Fair Pay to Play Act” goes into full effect in 2023, and there are other states looking into creating similar laws just like this one. 

On Oct. 29, the NCAA decided to allow student athletes “the opportunity to benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness in a manner consistent with the collegiate model,” as the press release states.

The NCAA Board of Governors’ decision urges each of their three collegiate divisions to begin drafting and updating their policies based on student athletes newfound eligibility to receive compensation. The board requested divisions to work immediately and to have policies in place no later than January 2021.

“I believe there is room within athletic budgets to take on the challenge,” said Coach Lee. “However, I believe that should not be compared to a professional level or layered dependent upon talent. It should be reasonable but leveled across the playing field no matter how large or small the institution.”