Apr 26th, 2022 |
113: The California “College Athlete Race and Gender Equity Act”: Is Revenue-Sharing Politically Viable?
On April 20, 2022, the California Senate’s Education Committee heard debate on the College Athlete Race and Gender Equity Act (the “Act”). The bill was authored and sponsored by state Senator Stephen Bradford who co-sponsored California’s 2019 name, image, and likeness law. The Act’s essential component is a revenue-sharing framework where athletes may receive payments directly related to their athletic services if fifty percent of revenues in their sport exceed the total cost of athletics scholarships in that sport. The Act passed the Education Committee 4-0-3 (4 yes, zero no, and three abstentions). A third-party fiduciary would manage revenues available for distribution from the trust fund. Athletes must graduate within six years to be eligible for distributions. Notably, the Act does not permit any trust fund distributions to create an employer-employee relationship with the athletes. Of central concern to the Education Committee were the method of calculating revenues and expenses and the potential impact on non-revenue sports and athletes. The Act now moves to the Senate Judiciary Committee for further debate and another vote. This episode analyzes the Act as a post-Alston/NIL/transfer stress test on the state of athletes’ rights in 2022. Will legislative decision-makers in California and elsewhere be open to revenue-sharing as a form of pay for play “light”?