Assembly and Senate Approves SB 206 the Fair Pay to Play Act

September 12, 2019

Assembly and Senate Approves SB 206 the Fair Pay to Play Act


SACREAMENTO ­– Yesterday, Senate Bill 206, authored by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), was approved by the California State Senate with unanimous support. SB 206, known as the Fair Pay to Play Act, will give California student athletes the right to their name, image, and likeness, allowing them to earn money from sponsorships, endorsements and other activities.


“Our CSU and UC systems generate billions of dollars off of the hard work and talent of athletes, who don’t see a single dollar of the profits,” said Senator Bradford. “While our student athletes are struggling to get by, some of our state’s highest paid employees are coaches. The majority of these athletes are African-American men and make up less than 3% of college undergraduate populations, but comprise over 50% of basketball and football teams that generate the highest revenue. We should call this practice what it is, institutionalized slavery.”


In 2017, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which operates as a nonprofit organization, reported $1.1 billion in revenue. The debate over whether students should be able to make money off of sales through items such as jerseys has been debated for years. Current NCAA rules distinguish college athletes from professional athletes and allow institutions to earn vast profits without just compensation. Under SB 206, all student athletes enrolled in public and private four-year colleges and universities in California would be able to earn money from endorsements or sponsorship deals. This bill would not affect students’ scholarship eligibility and would forbid any sponsorship deals that undermine their institution’s existing contracts.


“California is loud and clear: Our student athletes will no longer be denied the right to their name, image, and likeness,” said Senator Skinner. “SB 206 brings an end to the exploitation of student athletes by the college sports industry, which generates wealth for all involved except the students. SB 206 doesn’t force colleges to pay, it simply opens the door for athletes to earn money just like any other student, whether it’s monetizing YouTube videos, teaching swim lessons, or accepting sponsorships.”


“This initiative would incentivize athletes to stay in college longer and lead to higher graduation rates,” Senator Bradford continued.


If signed by Governor Newsom, the measure would take effect on January 1, 2023.




Senator Bradford represents the Los Angeles County communities of Carson, Compton, Gardena, Harbor City, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lennox, San Pedro, Torrance, Watts, Willowbrook, and Wilmington.