Fair Pay to Play Act to take effect beginning Sept. 1

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Josh Kahen/Senior Staff
The Fair Pay to Play Act's effective date has been moved to Sept. 1 by California state senators Nancy Skinner and Steven Bradford. The bill has been amended to included the community college system and allows athletes to now identify the school they attended while creating promotional material.

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California state senators Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, and Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, announced Monday that they would be moving the effective date of the Fair Pay to Play Act to Sept. 1.

The bill was amended to include the community college system and adds athletic reputation, allowing athletes to identify the school they were in while making promotional materials, according to Skinner.

The announcement comes after a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court against the NCAA, which originated with a dispute between former college athletes and the NCAA over compensation, Skinner said in a press release.

The implementation date makes SB 26 an urgency measure; the bill requires a two-thirds majority in both legislative houses to pass. Skinner said in the press release that as of now, it has bipartisan support and does not have any opposition.

SB 206, the bill that preceded SB 26, faced no opposition from legislators when it passed in 2019, according to the press release.

The Fair Pay to Play act is a law that restores the ownership of name, image and likeness to student athletes. Previously, students lost ownership when they signed a contract with the NCAA, Skinner said at a state Assembly Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and & Media Committee meeting. 

“If we keep our date in 2023, then our colleges are at a great disadvantage in terms of recruiting athletes, and also our students are disadvantaged,” Skinner said at the meeting.

Skinner noted that her office has been in contact with various colleges around California. While they may have previously opposed the bill, Skinner said in the meeting they are now “comfortable” with the effective date of the Fair Pay to Play Act being moved to Sept. 1.

According to Skinner, there is no current opposition from the colleges.

“It is our mission to provide an exceptional student-athlete experience by dedicating resources and support to our Golden Bears, and navigating through the potential changes brought about by SB 206 will be no exception,” said UC Berkeley director of athletics Jim Knowlton in a statement. “I will always be in favor of supporting our student-athletes and their well-being.”

Cal Athletics has put together a Name, Image and Likeness working group. Led by senior associate athletic director Jay Larson, it includes staff, coaches, current and former student athletes and faculty.

They will be working on finding the best course of action to support student athletes while implementing the new name, image and likeness policies, according to Associate Athletics Director Herb Benenson.

“A key element will be education to help student-athletes understand how to build their brands and take advantage of the legislation in a thoughtful and meaningful way,” Benenson said in an email. “We also expect to utilize systems and programs both within Cal Athletics and the broader campus.”

PAC-12 declined a request for comment. The NCAA did not respond to a request for comment as of press time.

Contact Ryan Teoh at [email protected], and follow him on Twitter at @RyanTeoh001.