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California Senate Unanimously Passes Legislation to Pay College Athletes

The bill would allow college athletes to be paid for the use of their name, likeness and image.

California's bill to allow college athletes to be paid for the use of their name, likeness and image is headed to Gov. Gavin Newsom after the legislation was passed unanimously by the State Senate on Wednesday.

According to the Los Angeles Times,California's Senate approved the Fair Pay to Play Act with a 39–0 vote after the Assembly passed the bill 73–0 on Monday.

The Fair Pay to Play Act has already earned a few notable endorsements, including one from Lakers star LeBron James. The bill would not force schools to pay athletes, but rather allow athletes to hire agents who can procure business and sponsorship deals. 

California schools and the NCAA have long opposed the bill, which would make it impossible for schools to follow the NCAA's amateurism rules. On Wednesday, the NCAA sent a letter to Newsom calling the state's legislation "unconstitutional."

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"If the bill becomes law and California’s 58 NCAA schools are compelled to allow an unrestricted name, image and likeness scheme, it would erase the critical distinction between college and professional athletics," Wednesday's letter read. "Right now, nearly half a million student-athletes in all 50 states compete under the same rules. This bill would remove that essential element of fairness and equal treatment that forms the bedrock of college sports."

Newsom now has 30 days to sign or veto the bill.