California Governor Defies NCAA, Signs Law Letting College Athletes Make Money From Endorsements

The NCAA situation in regard to athletes making money had another wrinkle added. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

California’s governor signed a law Monday that will let NCAA athletes make money from endorsements and even hire agents — a groundbreaking move that could change the course of amateur sports.

The law takes effect in 2023. Students universities in the state — both public and private — will be permitted to sign deals with advertisers and profit from their names and likenesses, just like the pros, The Associated Press reported.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said he wanted to bring fairness to athletes in “big-money” college sports, who create money for their schools.

“Other college students with a talent, whether it be literature, music, or technological innovation, can monetize their skill and hard work,” he told the AP. “Student athletes, however, are prohibited from being compensated while their respective colleges and universities make millions, often at great risk to athletes’ health, academics and professional careers.”

Other states could follow. The AP reports two lawmakers in South Carolina have already announced plans to draft a similar law.

While the most money is likely to come from NCAA football and basketball, the new law applies to all sports. Under the law, athletes cannot be kicked off teams for getting paid. It does not apply to community colleges and prohibits athletes from accepting endorsement deals that conflict with their schools’ existing contracts, according to the AP.

The NCAA is the top governing body in sports and presides over 1,100 schools. The organization is worried about change coming from state laws rather than through the governing body itself.

The NCAA asked Newsom to veto the bill, the AP reported, said it will consider its “next steps” while moving forward with “efforts to make adjustments to NCAA name, image and likeness rules that are both realistic in modern society and tied to higher education.”

The AP reported that before the governor signed the bill, the NCAA cautioned that the law would give California universities an unfair recruiting advantage, which could prompt the association to bar them from competition and the NCAA could ban the schools from the group.

However, the NCAA membership is voluntary. If the California schools are forced out, they could form a new governing body, adding yet another layer to the developing situation.

There will be plenty of action and reaction after this law, but one thing is for sure. This issue isn’t going away.



  1. Calvin Reder

    The one good thing the government of California has ever done

  2. Noah Caplan

    They all deserve to be paid. Every athlete.

    • Brooke Lee

      Noah Caplan but will all the athletes get paid? Or only Football, basketball, the ones who get all the scholarships?

    • Noah Caplan

      I was a college swimmer (D-1)….ALL ATHLETES means ALL ATHLETES….maybe some kind of trickle-down type thing….no doubt the big 2 sports will get paid the most, as they should but there should be some type of deal with athletes who put the most LEGITIMATE hours in as a scholar-athlete….

  3. Debbie Colson

    I wonder if this will make scholarships obsolete?? Student athletes are paid with an education, housing, meals, books. Depending on the school, that’s about $40,000 for their college athletic career. How much will student athletes be paid instead?

    • Calvin Reder

      I doubt it, companies sponsor, teams, players, stadiums. I doubt they will stop sponsoring college events to pay college athletes, more likely they will just do both

    • Amy Alvano

      They aren’t getting paid to participate in sports, this law is simply letting them get paid privately for advertising endorsements. It will most likely benefit D1 football and basketball players the most since their likeness is used in video gaming etc.

    • Tammy Arbogast

      Not all sports offer full rides. Men’s swim and dive get 9.9 scholarships to split among 25-40 athletes.

    • Andy Beal

      More like $400,000…

    • Amanda Lennex

      Exactly, it depends on what sport you play.

    • Maureen Newlon Blandford

      Tammy Arbogast not all men’s programs get 9.9 scholarships. Mid major Div I are half of that

    • Mariusz Podkoscielny

      Debbie let’s not forget admission. 68% of all student athletes would not get into their respective colleges on their own. Schools take both risk and pay everyone equally. If we allowed some to have more that will take away for those that are not in a spotlight sports including swimming.

  4. Tara Garrett Houser

    Tax implications to students, parents, federal aid, etc – so many moving parts in this decision

    • Marcie Dressman

      And the state of Cali getting their cut for sure!!

    • Cindy Ault Kittrell

      Tara Garrett Houser That’s why there are accountants.

    • Tara Garrett Houser

      Cindy Ault Kittrell yup I know – I am one. Doesn’t mean there’s not still a lot to unpack for both the schools & student-athletes this affects. 18-yo with endorsement deals & little guidance & everyone looking to make a buck off their hard work is going to be dangerous waters.

  5. BC Summe

    So the rich schools have sports and small university and such will end their programs. People who actually think this is a good idea are ignorant of the future consequences of such a decision.

    • Brooke Lee

      BC Summe totally agree. Sports like Swimming getting cut left and right in College!

  6. Andy Beal

    And the NCAA will simply eliminate all California colleges and universities from eligibility in any post season bowls, thereby costing each school to lose millions in revenues. I’m sitting in Ohio with an engineering degree and not one class in the legal arena, and I can figure this out. You’d think a few of those Brainiacs out there might be able to cipher this!

    • Mike McHenry

      Andy Beal stick to Engineering…

  7. Pamela Goldsbro

    And who would have thought you could make the NCAA more corrupt? Or maybe CA wants to be on par with the SEC schools?

  8. Karin Knudson O

    “Membership in the NCAA is voluntary, however, so if California’s schools, like Cal, Stanford, USC and UCLA, were barred, they could theoretically form their own association.” (from the SF Gate article) personal I cannot decide if this is a good idea or bad. I see both sides. I do think it’s going to cause a mess, at least at first.

    • BC Summe

      Karin Knudson O’Connell
      They would never be on TV and they wouldn’t be involved with championships.

  9. Donna Grotzinger

    California needs to become its own country and get the h out of the USA! They are a disgrace to our country!

  10. Scott R Moore

    What was gained by Katie Ledecky and Missy Franklin quitting their teams to turn professional? The NCAA could have benefited from them their last two years of school, yet the archaic pining for amateurism by the NCAA drove these champions from their teams. Let them get paid!

  11. Niles Keeran

    Whatever happened to the AAU and college Athletics being AMATEURS, not paid professionals!!

  12. Lisa Bendall

    So will you still pay for full tuition, room and board?

  13. Rich Davis

    What happened to the Amateurs everyone asks. The CEO of the NCAA had a total compensation package of almost $4 million last year and he doesn’t generate any income, just living off the talents of the student athletes.

  14. Jessica Moreno-Rubio

    The schools make all kinds of money off these athletes. Yes, they earn a college degree. However they aren’t able to work when they have to go to school and practice, and travel etc. plus they are sacrificing their bodies to injury. They deserve it. Let’s see what happens…