The College Committee of the New Jersey Assembly voted for the New Jersey Fair Play Act on March 5, 2020. The law would allow college athletes in the state of New Jersey to receive compensation for advertising contracts. The panel voted 2 to 4 to further develop the legislation, which would ultimately come into force five academic years after it came into force.
If signed, the New Jersey Fair Play Act would ensure the right of athletes to make money off their name, image and likeness without affecting their eligibility for a scholarship. In addition, the law would guarantee students’ rights to legal representation in negotiating advertising contracts.
The MP Gerard Scharfenberger compared the idea of enabling student-athletes to receive compensation for advertising contracts with “a spirit that is let out of the bottle [that] could be a big problem. “Scharfenberger disagreed with the bill, noting,” You’re talking about bringing in sports agents to negotiate and open merchandising deals … at the college level. The capitalist in me wants to see these young men and women … earn money, rightly, but the downside is huge in my eyes. “
In response, Tim Nevius of Nevius Legal, an attorney for student athletes, stated that the bill would give athletes basic economic rights. Nevius continued, “We can’t wait for the NCAA to act. You hindered progress. They only change when they are forced to change, and it was only because of government action that we got to that point. “
This type of legislation is not new. As we previously reported, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Fair Pay for Gambling Act in September 2019. This makes California the first state to allow athletes to receive compensation through endorsements or sponsorships. The law provides that student athletes at 58 member schools in California receive compensation for the school’s use of their name, image, and likeness.
In response to California law, a number of other states joined the movement. New York, South Carolina, and Illinois are among the states advocating similar legislation, and New Jersey is now adding to the fight. It is clear that the issue of athlete compensation will continue to be controversial and the NCAA will have to respond to the growing demand for student rights.