California Enacts Fair Pay to Play Act

courtesy of NY Times

College athletes in the state of California are #winning with the passage of the Fair Pay to Play Act. This law needs to be adopted nationwide. Colleges and the NCAA have been profiting for over a hundred years from their college sports teams – from admission fees, to advertising, to leveraging intellectual property rights of the students, to every exploitation imaginable, all to the detriment of the students, who were unable to share in any compensation related to their respective sports without forfeiting the chance to go pro and really make the big bucks.

California is the first state to determine that it ends here. The law, which will not go into effect until January 1, 2023, is a huge step in the right direction for college athletes nationwide as it now sets precedent, but it also amounts to intellectual property social justice for our black college athletes.

Many of our black college athletes are the stars of their college sports teams and the reason people are so interested in particular colleges and their sports. Presently, under the law, colleges are permitted to make deals with major brands to license the intellectual property rights and publicity rights of their student athletes without permitting them to share in any of the revenue received from its exploitation.

Can you imagine? You’re a college basketball star and Nike has a sneaker with your name and face attached to it, and people are buying them like crazy, and the only ones who stand to benefit are the schools, the NCAA, and the brands. Meanwhile, you get your tuition waived. Now, that’s not to say not having to pay tuition should be looked at lightly. I’ve been to plenty of schools and received mounds of education, and I had to pay for it, so I do see a benefit in not having student loan debt, but not the way this system is set up.

You know the game. The teachers are passing those athletes because they need them to play. The students aren’t receiving a real education – hell, that’s why it’s free. And if and when they graduate and aren’t drafted, then they have no education and nothing to fall back on. All while the big suits have exploited them and made millions off them and the student athlete receives nothing.

I think the NCAA made all of these rules with regard to athlete compensation, in order to level the playing field, so that certain colleges and universities are prohibited from essentially purchasing their best players to the detriment of other colleges and universities who don’t necessarily have it in their budget. But some of it could stem from them looking out for the student athlete who might easily be swayed by money and bling into making a decision that’s not in their best interest. However, there is absolutely no logic, but greed (and modern-day slavery), to prohibit the students from monetizing from their own publicity rights and intellectual property.

I’m a fan of the bill. You can view it here. Let me know your thoughts.

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