College Athletes Can Now Get Paid!

October 4, 2019
Neon Tommy [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]
What’s the difference between a college athlete and a professional athlete? The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) believes that one of the main distinctions is that professional athletes earn money from endorsement deals (that’s when companies pay athletes to endorse or use their star status to vouch for and sell their products), while college athletes do not. Whether that’s a valid argument or not, California Governor Gavin Newsom and professional basketball player LeBron James disagree. Earlier this week, Governor Newsom signed a bill that allows college athletes attending public and private universities in the state of California to sign endorsement deals starting in the year 2023. Why is this such a big deal? Well, universities make a lot of money (we’re talking over $1 billion a year!) from the student athletes that play for them. While some may earn a small stipend for meals and housing, or get to keep their winnings from certain competitions such as the Olympic Games, college athletes aren’t allowed to make any money off of their star status. (Have you ever seen a college basketball star on a Nike shoe advertisement?) With this new law in place, college athletes will be able to sign endorsement deals. The NCAA cries foul, but college athletes (and LeBron James) are doing the happy dance.