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California Governor Signs Bill Allowing College Athletes to Make Money From Ads, Merchandising, Setting Up Clash With NCAA

College athletes in the state of California have a big reason to celebrate, because a controversial bill was recently signed by the state’s Gov. Gavin Newsom. And he did it right in front of LeBron James.

Earlier this month, Senate Bill 206, also known as the Fair Pay to Play Act, was passed in the California State Assembly before making its way to Newsom. And now that he’s signed it, college students in the state will be allowed to make money of their names, images and likenesses without being penalized for it. They’ll also be able to hire agents and secure business deals.

Additionally, colleges and universities won’t be allowed to take away a student’s scholarship for taking such actions. Prior to the bill, and as it stands in other states, players who have their own jersey or posters, for example, couldn’t make anything — while the school, the store and everyone else involved cashed in.

The NCAA gave major opposition to the bill along the way, because they felt if passed it would blur the line between pro and college athletes. James tweeted about the bill on Sept. 5 and encouraged everyone to call their politicians to support it. He also had Newsom on his HBO show “The Shop” to sign it, and Newsom explained why it’ll be such a game-changer.

“[Signing the bill] is going to initiate dozens of other states to introduce similar legislation,” he said before putting pen to paper. “And it’s going to change college sports for the better by having now the interests, finally, of the athletes, on par with the interests of the institutions. Now we’re rebalancing that power arrangement.”

James also spoke about the bill on his show.

“This is the No. 1 reason why we’ve created this platform,” he explained. “To be able to have moments like this where we’ve got the governor of California signing a bill to allow athletes [to earn money].”

Plus, James posted a clip of the bill being signed to his Twitter page and wrote about its potential impact.

“I’m so incredibly proud to share this moment with all of you,” he wrote on Monday. “@gavinnewsom came to The Shop to do something that will change the lives for countless athletes who deserve it! @uninterrupted hosted the formal signing for SB 206 allowing college athletes to responsibly get paid.”

Draymond Green, who’s been supportive of the bill, also sent a message.

“Thank you to California Governor @GavinNewsom for his leadership signing the bill protecting college athletes and bringing more equality to the multi billion dollar industry,” he wrote Monday.

But the NCAA has already opposed the decision, and they’ve sent a letter that reads: “This new law already is creating confusion for current and future student-athletes, coaches, administrators and campuses, and not just in California.”

The bill will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023.

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