Monday, June 24, 2019

NCAA Vows to Fight California's Potential Legislation to Pay Student Athletes

Posted By on Mon, Jun 24, 2019 at 3:02 PM

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A landmark piece of legislation that would allow NCAA athletes to receive compensation for their name, likeness and image is one step closer to becoming law in California.

The proposed legislation cleared its first hurdle, with the California Senate voting 31-4 in favor of the act last week.

The legislation, which wouldn't take effect until 2023, has drawn harsh response from NCAA President Mark Emmert, who threatened sanctions and penalties for member institutions, should the piece get passed.

Emmert threatened the membership status of the state's universities in a letter sent to USA Today, calling the legislation an example of institutional overreach.

"We recognize all of the efforts that have been undertaken to develop this bill in the context of complex issues related to the current collegiate model that have been the subject of litigation and much national debate," Emmert wrote in his letter to the committee chairs. "Nonetheless, when contrasted with current NCAA rules, as drafted the bill threatens to alter materially the principles of intercollegiate athletics and create local differences that would make it impossible to host fair national championships. As a result, it likely would have a negative impact on the exact student-athletes it intends to assist."

A spokeswoman for Assembly member Kansen Chu (D-San Jose), who will chair Tuesday's hearing, said Emmert's letter prompted Chu to seek an amendment from the bill's author, Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley). Late last week, wording was added that says "it is the intent of the Legislature to monitor" the NCAA working group and "revisit this issue to implement significant findings and recommendations of the NCAA working group in furtherance of the statutory changes proposed by this act."

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Emmert wrote that even though the bill would not take effect until 2023, "passage of the bill now will create confusion among prospective and current student-athletes and our membership. The impact of a prematurely passed bill would be difficult to untangle."


The next step for the proposed changes is a hearing and vote by the State Assembly's Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media Committee on Tuesday, June 25.

From there, the legislation would head to the House Education Committee, which must vote on it by the close of the chamber's session on July 11. 

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