California Leads, the NCAA Follows

USC freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis hands the ball off to running back Kenan Christon in a thriller against an outmatched Arizona squad.Jon Endow/Image of Sports/Newscom via ZUMA

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Here’s a timeline of recent actions in the college sports arena:

September 11: The NCAA Board of Governors wants California Gov. Gavin Newsom to reject a new attempt to pay college athletes….In a six-paragraph letter released Wednesday, the board urged Newsom not to sign the legislation known as the Fair Pay to Play Act, which would allow college athletes to be paid for the use of their names, likenesses and images….The board warned that California schools may be declared ineligible for NCAA competition if the bill becomes law because they would have an unfair recruiting advantage.

September 30: California became the first state to require major financial reforms in college athletics on Monday after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a measure that allows players to receive endorsement deals….Senate Bill 206 by Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) prohibits the NCAA from barring a university from competition if its athletes are compensated for the use of their name, image or likeness beginning Jan. 1, 2023.

October 29: The NCAA is finally embracing “change” and starting the process of allowing student-athletes to profit off of their name, image and likeness, the organization announced on Tuesday. The organization’s top governing board voted unanimously to allow college athletes to be compensated, though the specifics on how college athletes’ compensation will fall on each of the NCAA’s three divisions to craft their own rules.

Whaddayaknow? After five years of futzing around following the O’Bannon decision, all it took was a little nudge by California and within a few weeks the NCAA suddenly decided to cave in. How about that?

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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