NCAA Athletes Can Soon Get Paid in California — Here’s How It Impacts Shoe Endorsements

California college athletes will soon be able to get paid.

Gov. Gavin Newsom today signed into law California Senate Bill 206, known as the Fair Pay to Play Act. The bill passed State Assembly unanimously earlier this month.

The law comes in defiance of NCAA regulations, which prohibit athletes from being paid, both by schools and from outside endorsement deals. In California, students at both public and private universities will be able to parlay their fame into endorsement deals, starting in 2023.

Experts say the new law could revolutionize the way endorsements work for college sports.

“The way that Russell Westbrook is locked into certain performance obligations with Jordan Brand or the way Kawhi Leonard is locked into certain performance obligations with New Balance,” Marc Beckman, CEO of business development agency DMA United, told FN, “those types of contractual terms will dictate what these student athletes are wearing both on and off the court.”

California is the first state in the nation to legalize payments for collegiate athletes. Lawmakers in New York and South Carolina have brought forth similar proposals — and famed sports marketing executive Sonny Vaccaro told FN more states are likely to follow in California’s footsteps.

Without similar legislation in other states, Beckham hypothesized that the Golden State could have a competitive advantage in attracting student athletes.

“[Are you] going to start to see a lot of talent going toward UCLA and USC coming out of the gate, automatically generating a lot more revenue for those state-run schools or state-oriented schools? What happens to the Midwestern or East Coast schools that haven’t passed that law yet? It could change the competitive landscape at the school level,” Beckman said.

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