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California bill to legalize Olympic model for NCAA schools advances

Mark Emmert

FILE - In this April 6, 2014 file photo, NCAA President Mark Emmert answers a question at a news conference in Arlington, Texas. The NCAA’s board of directors is scheduled to discuss and endorse a 57-page overhaul plan that would hand far more power to five major conferences to decide how to treat and perhaps satisfy their athletes.(AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)


A California bill that would make it legal for college athletes to profit off of their name, image and likeness got one step closer to becoming a law on Tuesday.

According to a report from ESPN, the state assembly’s Committee on Higher Education voted 9-0 to continue moving the bill, which is called The Fair Pay to Play Act, forward. The bill, which was introduced back in February, would make it illegal for schools in the state of California to pull scholarships from athletes that profit off of their fame as college athletes while also allowing them to hire people to represent them - agents, lawyers, financial advisors, etc. - in those matters.

Essentially, the law would put the Olympic model into effect in the state.

In May, NCAA president Mark Emmert wrote a letter to the California legislators voting on this bill asking them to delay the process while the NCAA evaluated the impact of the law. The letter also reportedly stated that allowing the bill to become law would put those universities in breach of NCAA bylaws and, potentially, render them ineligible for NCAA-sanctioned championships.

“I don’t take too fondly to threats to the state of California regardless of where they come from,” Jose Medina, the chairman for the Committee on Higher Education, told ESPN.

The bill, if it passes, would go into effect in 2023.