Pac-12 Claims New California Law 'Will Have Very Significant Negative Consequences'

By Khadrice Rollins , |

The Pac-12 issued a statement criticizing the new California Fair Pay to Play law that was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday.

California Senate Bill 206 will allow for college athletes to be paid for the use of their name, likeness and image. The law will go into effect Jan. 1, 2023.

However, the Pac-12, which is home to four California schools, is against the new law. "It will have very significant negative consequences," the conference wrote in a statement.

The Pac-12 is disappointed in the passage of SB 206 and believes it will have very significant negative consequences for our student-athletes and broader universities in California. This legislation will lead to the professionalization of college sports and many unintended consequences related to this professionalism, imposes a state law that conflicts with national rules, will blur the lines for how California universities recruit student-athletes and compete nationally, and will likely reduce resources and opportunities for student-athletes in Olympic sports and have a negative disparate impact on female student-athletes.

Our universities have led important student-athlete reform over the past years, but firmly believe all reforms must treat our student-athletes as students pursuing an education, and not as professional athletes. We will work with our universities to determine next steps and ensure continuing support for our student-athletes.

The NCAA has also spoken out against the legislation, initially sending a letter to Newsom claiming the new law would be "unconstitutional."

It also issued a statement Monday saying, "As a membership organization, the NCAA agrees changes are needed to continue to support student-athletes, but improvement needs to happen on a national level through the NCAA’s rules-making process. Unfortunately, this new law already is creating confusion for current and future student-athletes, coaches, administrators and campuses, and not just in California."

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey also provided a statement to Sports Illustrated about the new law and the potential dangers.

"There is meaningful concern related to the inherent consequences that will inevitably arise when individual states unilaterally alter a set of rules that currently apply to student-athletes and universities throughout the country," Sankey said. "... We must also fully address the underlying potential for abuse by external influences and strive for a structure that appropriately ties financial support of student-athletes to their educational pursuits."

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