More Than an Asset: LeBron Shows Support For Fair Pay To Play

  • The NCAA is reportedly studying potential changes in its own policies regarding amateurism.
  • LeBron James’ Springhill Entertainment released the HBO documentary “Student Athlete” in 2018, exploring the exploitive nature of the NCAA.
  • James has been an increasingly active voice in social justice matters ever since the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – LeBron James is continuing to further his #MoreThanAnAthlete stance off of the basketball court. James recently took to Twitter to promote and support the passing of the bill SB 206.

Fair Pay To Play

CA SB 206 is titled the Fair Pay to Play Act and it would prevent schools in California from denying scholarships or eligibility from college athletes who use their name, image or likeness to earn compensation while in school.

The bill was introduced by California State Sentator Nancy Skinner. The state Senate passed the proposed legislation 31-5 in May, and as of Monday, the California State Assembly passed the bill in a unanimous vote.

The bill will now return to the Senate in order for a concurrence vote to be made on amendments that were made as it passed through the Assembly. Those amendments include how to address conflicts that could arise between prospective athlete deals and existing deals with universities and coaches.

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From there, the bill will reach Gov. Gavin Newsome’s desk, and he will have 30 days to either sign the bill into law or veto it.

Reactions Across The NCAA

The passing of this legislation would seemingly spark a monumental shift in the landscape of sports. State law would be in direct conflict with NCAA amateurism and eligibility rules. If the bill passes, believes other states would likely be influenced to adopt similar policy. Once enough states begin to show interest, legislation could take place on a national level.

This would be catastrophic to the very infrastructure and mission of the NCAA, and they know it.

NCAA President Mark Emmert has already threatened to forbid California’s college teams from participating in NCAA championships if the bill becomes law. The NCAA insists that a change like this must be made in accordance with and under the authority of the NCAA.

The NCAA, as well as the California public school system, will surely make a concerted effort to lobby Newsome. Several schools including the University of Southern California and Stanford have already publicly opposed the legislation and essentially pledged their allegiance to the NCAA.

The vote to settle the differences and applied amendments could be wrapped up as early as Tuesday, but the deadline to see action taken on the bill is getting close. The California legislative session ends Friday, with the legislature not scheduled to reconvene until Jan 6, 2020.