On Wednesday, May 22, 2019, the California Senate voted (31-4) to pass the Fair Pay to Play Act to allow college athletes in the state to earn income from endorsements or sponsorships. The bill would protect college athletes in the state from losing eligibility for receiving such compensations.

“The California Senate has spoken loud and clear: Student-athletes should enjoy the same right as all other college students – to earn income from their talent,” California State Sen. Nancy Skinner, who introduced the bill, said in a statement.

The current NCAA rules prohibit college athletes from being paid for playing their sport and prohibits the athletes, in most cases, from being paid for use of their popularity as a college athlete. The NCAA believes it is important to maintain amateurism in college sports. However, under the current college rules, many student-athletes are living below the federal poverty line.

In a study performed by the National College Players Association and Drexel University Sports Management Program, it was found that the fair market value of the average high-level college football and men’s basketball player was approximately $137,357 and $289,829, respectively. Even more, some of college football’s biggest stars’ estimated values range from $345,000 and $514,000.

Compensation for college athletes has been a topic garnering much consideration of late. Recently, a bill was introduced in North Carolina that would allow college athletes to profit from their image and likeness. The Student-Athlete Equity Act would allow NCAA athletes to get paid when they, or their image, appear in video games, advertisements, and other public media.

The Fair Pay to Play Act overcame a large legislative obstacle and will remain something to keep a close eye on.