Sept. 30 (UPI) -- A bill that allows college athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness received final approval Monday in California.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom formally signed the bill on LeBron James' HBO show The Shop. Senate Bill 206 goes into effect in 2023. The bill could have a monumental impact on how business is conducted in the NCAA if it survives court challenges.
The bill allows California college athletes to sign endorsement deals; earn money based on the usage of their name, image and likeness; and sign licensing contracts for profit. The athletes also will be able to hire agents -- licensed in California -- for representation.
The NCAA released a statement after Newson signed the bill saying that the new law is "creating confusion." The NCAA previously called the bill "harmful" and "unconstitutional."
"As a membership organization, the NCAA agrees changes are needed to continue to support student-athletes, but improvement needs to happen on a national level through the NCAA's rules-making process," the NCAA said.
"Unfortunately, this new law already is creating confusion for current and future student-athletes, coaches, administrators and campuses, and not just in California. We will consider next steps in California while our members move forward with ongoing efforts to make adjustments to NCAA name, image and likeness rules that are both realistic in modern society and tied to higher education."
The NCAA also said a "patchwork of different laws" from different states will make the goal of providing a fair and level playing field for student-athletes "unattainable." There are 1,100 campuses and nearly half-million student athletes nationwide.
The NCAA contends the bill gives 58 member schools in California an unfair recruiting advantage, in addition to making those schools ineligible to compete in NCAA competitions.
The bill makes it illegal for universities to revoke scholarships for student-athletes who accept money as outlined under its provisions.
The California State Senate voted 39-0 on Sept. 11 in favor of SB 206, two days after the State Assembly passed it 72-0.
LeBron James went straight from high school to the NBA despite major interest from several colleges. The 2005 NBA Draft included the last group of high school players to go straight to the league.
The NBA later created a rule stipulating the a player must be at least 19 years old and at least one NBA season must have elapsed since that player graduated -- or would have graduated -- from high school to be eligible for the NBA Draft. The rule began what is now coined the one-and-done era in college basketball.
"This is a game-changer for student athletes and for equity in sports," James said. "Athletes at every level deserve to be empowered and to be fairly compensated for their work, especially in a system where so many are profiting off of their talents.
"Part of the reason I went to the NBA was to get my mom out of the situation she was in. I couldn't have done that in college with the current rules in place. This bill will help student athletes who are in a similar situation."
The Pac-12 Conference opposed the bill.
"The Pac-12 is disappointed in the passage of SB 206 and believes it will have very significant negative consequences for our student-athletes and broader universities in California," a statement by the conference said.
"This legislation will lead to the professionalization of college sports and many unintended consequences related to this professionalism, imposes a state law that conflicts with national rules, will blur the lines for how California universities recruit student-athletes and compete nationally, and will likely reduce resources and opportunities for student-athletes in Olympic sports and have a negative disparate impact on female student-athletes."
Newsom said he believes the law will prompt dozens of other states to introduce similar legislation.
"This is the beginning of a national movement -- one that transcends geographic and partisan lines," Newsom said. "Collegiate student athletes put everything on the line -- their physical health, future career prospects and years of their lives to compete.
"Colleges reap billions from these student athletes' sacrifices and success but, in the same breath, block them from earning a single dollar. That's a bankrupt model -- one that puts institutions ahead of the students they are supposed to serve. It needs to be disrupted."