Athletes at California colleges could hire agents and sign endorsement deals under a bill the state Legislature sent to the governor Wednesday, setting up a potential confrontation with the NCAA that could jeopardize the athletic futures of powerhouse programs like USC, UCLA, and Stanford, per the AP. Gov. Gavin Newsom has not said whether he will sign the bill. But the NCAA Board Of Governors is already urging him not to, warning that if he does, California colleges and universities would eventually be banned from NCAA competitions because of their "unfair recruiting advantage." The state Assembly and Senate sent the bill to the governor without a dissenting vote in what Republican Assemblyman Kevin Kiley said was "a loud and clear message to the NCAA."
The bill would allow student-athletes to hire agents and be paid for the use of their names, images, or likenesses, and it would stop California universities and the NCAA from banning athletes that take the money. It would, however, forbid athletes from signing endorsement deals that conflict with their school's existing contracts. If the measure becomes law, it would take effect Jan. 1, 2023. Several Republican senators noted they had planned to vote against the bill but changed their minds after listening to the debate and, in some cases, lobbying from their children. Newsom has 30 days to either sign the bill, veto it, or let it become law without his signature. The NCAA believes the bill is unconstitutional because it violates the federal Commerce Clause and would consider a legal challenge if it becomes law.
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