California state assembly unanimously passes bill to allow college athletes to profit from endorsements

    California may be the first state to allow college athletes to earn compensation based on their name, image and likeness.

    (CNN)The California State Assembly voted 73-0 in favor of SB 206, also known as the Fair Pay to Play Act, which is a proposed law that would allow college athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness.

    If the legislation is signed into law, it will be a "game changer," NBA superstar LeBron James recently said on Twitter.
    The Fair Pay to Play Act would allow college athletes in California to sign endorsement deals; earn compensation based on the usage of their name, image and likeness; and sign all types of licensing contracts that would allow them to earn money.
      These college athletes would also be able to hire an agent licensed by the state to represent them in any deals.
      The California Senate overwhelmingly voted 31-5 in favor to pass the bill in May, but since it has been amended since then, it will soon go back for a vote in the Senate where it is expected to pass. It will then move to California Gov. Gavin Newsom's desk.
      SB 206 was introduced by state Sens. Nancy Skinner and Steven Bradford, and if Newsom signs SB 206 into law, it would go into effect on January 1, 2023. The governor's office told CNN that the bill will be evaluated on its own merits.
      Skinner and Bradford did not respond to requests for comment via email.
      The debate over NCAA amateurism and the money that the NCAA and schools generate through college athletic programs has raged on for years. Current NCAA amateurism rules are put in place to distinguish college athletes from professional athletes.
      For the 2017 fiscal year, the NCAA reported $1.1 billion in revenue. Considering all the money that these athletic programs generate for both the NCAA and each of the schools, it has long since been argued that students should be able to profit off the revenue that they help generate.
      The NCAA operates as a nonprofit organization.
      Unsurprisingly, the legislation has received opposition from the NCAA and a number of prominent universities in California, as they believe it would be impossible for the schools to follow the NCAA's amateurism rules.
      "The NCAA Board of Governors has monitored SB 206 as it has moved through the California legislative process," the NCAA said in a statement. "As we evaluate our next steps, we remain focused on providing opportunities and a level playing field for the nearly half a million student-athletes nationwide."
      NCAA president Mark Emmert sent a letter to two state assembly committees that implied that California schools would be barred from participating in NCAA championships if the bill becomes law.
      "We recognize all of the efforts that have been undertaken to develop this bill in the context of complex issues related to the current collegiate model that have been the subject of litigation and much national debate," Emmert wrot