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Student Athlete Pay Law Takes Effect in Calif.

September 2, 2021

California college athletes are now able to earn money from their name, image and likeness after Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation Tuesday, earlier than originally planned, that implemented California’s Fair Pay to Play Act.

The governor's signature to accelerate the athlete pay law allows student athletes enrolled in public and private four-year institutions to earn money from their name, image or likeness. Additionally, student athletes can hire sports agents and won't lose their scholarships if they receive income for their work.

According to a press release, the governor accelerated implementation of the law to ensure that "California students are protected" following the new rule change by the National Collegiate Athletic Association that allows institutions to develop their own rules in states without name, image and likeness laws, or in states where laws are not yet in effect.

Newsom first signed the Fair Pay to Play Act, or SB 206, in September 2019, and it was scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023. Prior to the bill's signature, the NCAA fiercely opposed the measure, and NCAA president Mark Emmert insinuated that California institutions would be excluded from championship games if the bill was approved. Since Newsom's signature on the act, lawmakers in other states have threatened legislation to advance player compensation. In June 2021, the NCAA announced it had adopted an interim policy suspending NCAA name, image and likeness rules for all incoming and current student athletes in all sports.

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