Skip to main content

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act on Monday, which will allow college athletes to be paid for the use of their name, likeness and image.

The California law does not force schools to pay athletes, but it allows athletes to hire agents who can procure business and sponsorship deals. California schools and the NCAA have long opposed the legislation, which makes it impossible for schools to follow the NCAA's amateurism rules. The California Fair Pay to Play Act will not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2023.

At the national level, U.S. Representative Anthony Gonzalez (R., Ohio), who was a standout receiver at Ohio State and played in the NFL, is planning to propose a new national law that would give college athletes the opportunity to make endorsement money.

Gonzalez isn't the only one trying to make a federal change, as U.S. Representative Mark Walker (R., N.C) proposed the Student-Athlete Equity Act in March that would change the definition of a qualified amateur sports organization in the tax code. But while the debate over at the national level intensifies, so does the discussion at the state level. Other states are beginning to follow California's lead after the passage of the Fair Pay to Play Act.

Here's a breakdown of other proposals from state lawmakers:


State lawmakers are working on introducing a bill next year that would allow college athletes to profit off of thier name and likeness, reports The Denver Post.

According to the Post, two senators, Owen Hill (R.) and Jeff Bridges (D.), are "all in," along with House Majority Leader Alec Garnett (D.). The lawmakers said a bill would allow student athletes to accept endorsement deals and sign with agents, which is similar to the California Fair Pay to Play Act.

Hill said the potential Colorado bill would give athletes the right to sue if the NCAA pushed back. He said he had hoped to introduce the bill last year.

"We did not get it introduced last year. This bill will be introduced this time," Hill told the Post, "It’s to our shame in Colorado that California beat us on something."


Representative Kionne McGhee (D.) filed a bill in the Florida House of Representatives on Sept. 30 aimed at preventing the NCAA from blocking student-athletes from receiving compensation for the use of their likeness or name. McGhee's House Bill 251 would go into effect July 1, 2020.

According to the HB 251 website, the bill, "Authorizes students participating in intercollegiate athletics to receive specified compensation; provides requirements for specified students, postsecondary educational institutions, certain organizations, & specified representatives; & creates Florida College System Athlete Name, Image, & Likeness Task Force."

USA Today's Steve Berkowitz reports that a spokesman for Representative Chip LaMarca says another bill is coming.


Representative Emanuel "Chris" Welch (D.) filed a bill Sept. 30 that would would allow Illinois college athletes to make money from endorsement deals. If passed and signed into law, it would take effect in 2023.

Welch's bill prohibits schools from removing a student athlete's eligibility if he or she earns compensation from an endorsement deal, and it would be applied to four-year public and private institutions.

According to the bill, student athletes may not enter into a contract that provides compensation "if a provision of the contract is in conflict with a provision of the athlete's team contract."

"My goal is to get this passed into law so that we’re on a level playing field with California going into recruiting season," Welch told the Chicago Tribune.


Senator Morgan McGarvey (D.) has drafted a bill that would allow student-athletes to profit from their names, images and likenesses. The bill is modeled after California's Fair Pay to Play Act, reports The Courier Journal. McGarvey told the paper he's been working on a draft of the bill since early August.

"When you see a place like California and all of its universities doing something like this, we want to make sure that Kentucky is also positioned on the forefront of being fair to its college athletes and also building competitive sports teams," McGarvey told the Courier Journal.

McGarvey's draft legislation currently prohibits organizations such as the NCAA from penalizing student athletes for receiving outside compensation and prohibits colleges from revoking a student's scholarship if he or she receives such compensation, according to the paper. He said he is holding off on prefiling his bill for next year's Kentucky General Assembly session amidst uncertainty around the NCAA's response.


Representative Nolan West (R.) is working on a proposal similar to the California Fair Pay to Play Act that he hopes to introduce in the Minnesota House during the 2020 legislative session, reports the Star Tribune.

"I think there would be a lot of support," West said. "This is a quintessential workplace issue of unpaid labor and that kind of ridiculous situation for a lot of these athletes who could get permanent brain damage and never receive a dime of compensation for hundreds and hundreds of hours of work."

West said if a bill passes, it would be at least a year before college athletes in the state could take advantage of the law.


Nevada assembly speaker Jason Frierson (D.) and Senator Yvanna Cancela (D.) are in the early stages of exploring legislation similar to California's Fair Pay to Play Act, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

"California’s bill is a game changer because it will force other states to figure out how to compete with California’s recruitment practices," Cancela said, who added she remains in the research process.

Frierson is a former running back for Nevada.

New York

A New York state senator proposed a bill that would make the state the first to require colleges to pay student-athletes directly. Senator Kevin Parker (D.) has proposed Senate Bill S6722A, which "allows student-athletes to receive compensation including for the use of a student's name, image or likeness; allows student-athletes to seek professional representation; requires colleges to establish an injured athlete fund to provide compensation to athletes for career-ending or long-term injuries."

Parker also added an amendment that would require college athletic departments to give a 15% share of annual revenue to student-athletes, which would be divided equally.


Time reports Representative Dan Miller (D.) and Representative Ed Gainey (D.) have circulated a bill, the Pennsylvania "Fair Pay to Play Act," writing in a memo that it will "capitalize on recent efforts in California to help balance the scales and allow our college athletes to sign endorsement deals, earn compensation for their name, image, and likeness, and sign licensing contracts that will allow them to earn money."

The pair are seeking a bipartisan group of legislatures to sign onto the bill, which they circulated Sept. 30, before formally introducing it, reports Time.

"The California success is sort of the ringing of the bell that we need to tilt this conversation into common sense reality," Miller told Time.

South Carolina

Two South Carolina lawmakers plan to file a proposal which would allow college athletes to profit from endorsements, similar to California's Fair Pay to Play Act. Senator Marlon Kimpson (D.) and Representative Justin Bamberg (D.) told The State on Sept. 13 they plan to file the bill when the General Assembly meets again in January.

The proposal would allow South Carolina's "biggest colleges to pay $5,000-a-year stipends to athletes in profitable sports like football and basketball. It also would give collegiate athletes—who can receive tuition and housing for their efforts, but not pay—an opportunity to earn money from sponsorships and autograph sales for the first time," according to The State.