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Colorado Governor Signs Bills Allowing NCAA Athletes to Profit Off Name, Likeness

Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed a bill on Friday that will help the state's college athletes profit off their names, images and likenesses. 

According to USA Today's Steve Berkowitz, the bill is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2023, the same day as California's Fair Pay to Play Act.

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act into law last fall, making California the first state in the country to create a legal right for college athletes to be compensated for the commercial use of their identities. Colorado is now the second state to do so.

Per Berkowitz, the Florida legislature also recently sent a similar bill to Gov. Ron DeSantis, who had previously announced his support for such a measure.

According to USA Today, there are similar bills pending in more than 20 additional states, including Illinois and New York.

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In October, as a response to California's bill, the NCAA’s Board of Governors unanimously voted to "permit students participating in athletics the opportunity to benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness in a manner consistent with the collegiate model."

In doing so, the board said it was directing its three divisions to create a new rules framework for no later than January 2021 that can be adapted to keep a clear distinction between collegiate and professional athletes.

“As a national governing body, the NCAA is uniquely positioned to modify its rules to ensure fairness and a level playing field for student-athletes,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said at the time. “The board’s action today creates a path to enhance opportunities for student-athletes while ensuring they compete against students and not professionals.”

Before student-athletes can profit, the board's three divisions will supposedly consider what adjustments need to be made to the organization's current bylaws. The board made clear in its official release in October that the group’s “modernization” should occur within a number of guidelines, including making clear that "compensation for athletics performance or participation is impermissible" and to "protect the recruiting environment and prohibit inducements to select, remain at, or transfer to a specific institution."

Lakers star LeBron James was a strong proponent of the initial California bill, writing on Twitter at the time, "Its a beautiful day for all college athletes going forward from this day on!"

Newsom signed his initial bill on James' HBO show, The Shop.