In 2010, a 20/20 investigative report revealed inappropriate relationships between minor athletes and their coaches, which has led to one hundred and-eighty-five coaches being banned from USA swimming for sexual-misconduct violations. The systematic failures of amateur sports governance again came to the forefront of public conversation in 2016 by the scandal of USA Gymnastics (“USAG”), when then national team doctor, Larry Nassar (“Nassar”), was accused of sexually and emotionally abusing over 300 athletes. As a result, Congress has enhanced government oversight of amateur sports in response to numerous allegations in recent years targeting amateur sports governing bodies’ failures to address physical and mental misconduct. New legislation is expected to make significant reforms by requiring training, reporting, and a new system to manage allegations of of sexual abuse, among other changes.
In February, California State Senators Nancy Skinner and Steven Bradford presented SB-206, titled the Fair Pay to Play Act, to the California State Senate. Founded on the principle of amateurism, which prohibits paying participants, the NCAA has never allowed intercollegiate student-athletes to earn any form of compensation. This bill seeks to end that prohibition in California and provide student-athletes the rights to their names, images, or likenesses (NIL). In May, the State Senate voted in favor of the bill, 31-5. After the necessary committees reviewed and amended the bill, the State Assembly unanimously passed the Fair Pay to Play Act in a 72-0 vote. Due to the changes, the amended bill went back to the State Senate, where it was unanimously approved, 39-0, on September 11. Governor Gavin Newsom has 30 days to sign, veto, or take no action and allow the bill to become law.