California recently enacted legislation aimed at allowing collegiate athletes to make money off their images and likeness. This legislation has the potential to upend the infrastructure of college sports, governed primarily by the National Collegiate Athletics Administration (“NCAA”), and the way amateur athletes both choose colleges or pursue professional careers.
By way of brief background, the NCAA, a non-profit organization, takes in revenue in the billions of dollars with some individual universities making tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in sports-related revenue. Meanwhile, student athletes are prohibited from using their name, image, or likeness to earn compensation for themselves and are largely prohibited from earning income from their athletics while in school, other than scholarships and various stipends.
This disparity has been a point of criticism for the NCAA for years, with critics noting that schools and businesses in the industry make millions off these student athletes, while the students themselves make nothing and may never earn if they do not go on to compete professionally because of injury or otherwise. New legislation in California, home to some of the largest collegiate sports programs such as the University of Southern California, the University of California Los Angeles, and University of California Berkley, aims to allow students to profit, or at least earn some income, through their role as collegiate athletes.