California Senate Advances Bill Allowing College Athletes to be Financially Compensated

Photo Credit: Monica’s Dad, Flickr Creative Commons

According to a report from the Los Angeles Times, the California Senate voted on Wednesday 31-4 in favor to advance a bill that would allow college athletes to be compensated for endorsement deals while still maintaining their amateur status. The California House of Representatives will soon consider the bill.

As the NCAA is taking steps to allow college athletes to earn money from their name, likeness, and image, the bill passed by the California Senate may expedite the process.

Senator Beverly Skinner (D-Berkely), the sponsor of the bill, justified the proposed legislation by comparing college athletes to Olympic athletes who are also considered amateurs. However, unlike college athletes, Olympic competitors can leverage their fame and status to score endorsement deals. “Olympic athletes are also considered amateur, so this does not professionalize our college athletes and may, in fact, result in encouraging some of our students to stay in school rather than the motivation to go pro early because it’s the only way to earn an income,” said Skinner.

Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) was more forceful and blunt, asserting, “These men and women put butts in seats of arenas and stadiums all across the country and the universities make millions of dollars selling their jerseys and other paraphernalia…but these athletes benefit not one dime.”

Support for the bill comes on the heels of growing frustration that over the years, several talented college athletes never quite make it to the NFL due to career-ending injuries that happen during their college careers.

In September 2005, Tyrone Prothro, a former talented wide-receiver for Alabama Crimson Tide fractured both major bones of his lower left leg in a win over Florida, effectively ending his football career. Had that injury not occurred, there is little doubt that Tyrone would have gone on to play in the NFL and earn millions.

Opponents of the bill are concerned that if the bill becomes law, many California universities would be excluded from the NCAA. However, in light of several instances over the years of talented young college athletes sacrificing their talents and livelihood for the entertainment of millions, only to see their sports career end due to a concussion or other serious injuries, the California bill may become the first of many to be considered across the country.

At the age of 23, while pursuing his Master’s degree, Scott decided to run for office as a Democrat for local State Representative to spread ideas and advocate for meaningful change, equality, and social justice. Over the past 10 years, he has contributed to guest columns about progressive issues in various news publications. In May of 2018, Scott decided to begin a digital publication in an effort to give people a platform to use their voices to create meaningful change in their respective communities throughout the Greater New Orleans area.

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