California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a landmark bill into law on Monday allowing college athletes to profit off their likenesses, a blow to the long-held concept of NCAA amateurism.
While the law — SB 206 — doesn’t open up direct payment from universities to student-athletes beyond scholarships, it allows them to seek outside endorsement money without the risk of losing their amateur status.
While the passing of the law was met with expected blowback from the NCAA, advocates of student-athletes being fairly able to profit off of their talents spoke glowingly of the news.
Draymond: ‘The NCAA is a dictatorship’
Golden State forward Draymond Green was happy to address the topic at Warriors media day.
“That’s exciting,” Green said of the news. “We spent so much time in college broke, with no money. Yet everybody else was living very well, universities making a ton of money off your likeness. It is the most bankrupt model. ...
“It’s backwards. Someone needs to force this dictatorship to change. Because that’s exactly what it is. It’s no different than any country that’s ran by dictators. The NCAA is a dictatorship.”
Green, who played four seasons at Michigan State, has been an outspoken advocate of the bill since it hit the California Senate floor, where it passed in a 72-0 vote. He urged Newsom to sign it after it gained Senate approval in September.
He’s far from the only high-profile athlete to come out in support of the law while criticizing the NCAA.
Richard Sherman: ‘I hope it destroys the NCAA’
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, who, like Green, is rarely reticent on controversial subjects, didn’t pull punches with his thoughts on the news.
“I hope it destroys the NCAA because I think it’s corrupt and it’s a bunch of people taking advantage of kids and doing it under a mask of fair play,” Sherman said, per the San Jose Mercury News.
“It's going to cripple the NCAA in a way where they start to bend, make it more fair and more of a symbiotic relationship between players and the NCAA, or it's going to destroy them in general and start a whole new way of college athletics in general, and I can respect that, too.”
LeBron James hosted Newsom’s signing of the bill
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, who skipped college to go straight to the NBA and has been a vocal advocate of the bill, hosted Newsom on his HBO show “The Shop” as he signed the bill into law.
I’m so incredibly proud to share this moment with all of you. @gavinnewsom came to The Shop to do something that will change the lives for countless athletes who deserve it! @uninterrupted hosted the formal signing for SB 206 allowing college athletes to responsibly get paid. pic.twitter.com/NZQGg6PY9d— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 30, 2019
Why it matters to LeBron
He spoke of why it personally matters to him later Monday at Lakers practice.
"That '23' jersey would've been sold all over the place without my name on the back ..."— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 30, 2019
LeBron explains what it would've been like if he went to college, and why the Fair Pay to Play Act is personal to him. (via @mcten) pic.twitter.com/Mmqp8N5EmH
“Pretty much that ‘23’ jersey would have got sold all over the place,” James said of if he’d attended Ohio State. “Without my name on the back, but everybody would have known the likeness. My body would’ve been on the NCAA basketball game, 2004. ...
“Me and my mom, we didn’t have anything. We wouldn’t have been able to benefit at all from it, and the university would’ve been able to capitalize on everything.”
Another win for Ed O’Bannon
Ed O’Bannon, a basketball star at UCLA in the early 1990s before his brief stint in the NBA, has been on the forefront of the charge for student-athlete rights, winning separate lawsuits against EA Sports for using athletes likenesses in video games and the NCAA for prohibiting players from profiting off their likenesses.
He once again took college sports leadership to task on Monday for leadership’s reaction to the California law.
Some of these AD's and league commissioners are hilarious to me, like the sky is going to fall now that athletes will potentially get paid while in college, off their own likeness no less. Weird— Ed O'Bannon (@Ed_OBannon) September 30, 2019
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