College athletes earn professional rights in California

Sports

October 2, 2019 - 10:19 AM

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law Monday that allows California college athletes to hire agents and make money from endorsements, like professionals. The move could affect recruitment for teams that often face Oregon, such as UCLA, shown here playing Oregon at the Rose Bowl in 2017. CHRIS PIETSCH/THE REGISTER GUARD FILE

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Defying the NCAA, California opened the way Monday for college athletes to hire agents and make money from endorsement deals with sneaker companies, soft drink makers, car dealerships and other sponsors, just like the pros.

The first-in-the-nation law, signed by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and set to take effect in 2023, could upend amateur sports in the U.S. and trigger a legal challenge.

Newsom and others cast it as an attempt to bring more fairness to big-money college athletics and let players share in the wealth they create for their schools. Critics have long complained that universities are getting rich off the backs of athletes — often, black athletes struggling to get by financially.

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