Fair Pay to Play Act

By: Gus Wilson

College athletes just took one step closer to being paid like the pros. A bill was passed on September 30th 2019 that stated it would allow college athletes of any sport to be paid from any merchandise that involved their names and or likeness. The Fair Pay to Play Act was first introduced in California, and is continuing to spread throughout the country.

Illustration by Priscilla Castro Sanchez.

The bill, which is set to be implemented on January 1st, 2023, is already beginning to spread to other states. Senators of many states in the country have made advancements towards passing the new bill. Two Florida representatives have brought up and discussed the idea of passing the bill. Other states that have discussed the bill are Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, and New York.

Coaches throughout the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) have let the media know their position on the bill. Mike Krzyzewski, the famous head coach for the Duke Blue Devils basketball team has stated, “It is a sign of the times that we in college athletics must continually adapt, albeit in a sensible manner.” Some of the top tier coaches in college football have also given their input. LSU’s own Ed Orgeron stated, “I believe the players should get as much as they possibly can,” and Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley, “Well, it’s going to impact us if it does in fact happen.” The thoughts of the many coaches right now have varying answers on if the bill should be implemented throughout the country. 

The NCAA, if the bill were to be passed throughout the United States, would not be as affected as much as some people may think. If the Fair Pay to Play Act went into action, the NCAA has stated that if the bill was passed in California, it “would force the NCAA to declare college athletes from California ineligible and thus make their teams ineligible to compete for NCAA championships.” While the bill has only been passed in California starting in 2023, no college sports teams in California would be able to compete in championships or tournaments, which would hurt the college themselves.

The somewhat surprising recent move made by the NCAA’s Michael Drake, one of it’s board members, stated, “We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for all college athletes.” Although the association has expressed that it would not be affected by states signing the bill, the bill itself is expected to be signed by many other states. The NCAA is allowing themselves to develop a plan for the imminent future of college athletes being paid.

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