LeBron wanted it and California’s governor signed it. What the college athlete compensation law means to real estate

Real estate agents expect a new pipeline of homebuyers

LeBron James and California Governor Gavin Newsom (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)
LeBron James and California Governor Gavin Newsom (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)

California’s landmark student athlete compensation bill has now been signed into law, and while the NCAA has strong objections, one very high profile athlete is making his feelings known.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the “Fair Pay to Play Act” into law on Monday, and marked the occasion with an appearance on L.A. Lakers superstar LeBron James’ HBO show, “The Shop.”

The new law — which will allow college athletes to earn money from their names, likenesses and images — could also have a major impact on California’s real estate industry by creating a new pipeline of young millionaires in the home buying market. Several Los Angeles real estate agents said they support the measure, though it also presents a unique set of challenges.

The new law, which will take effect in 2023, “is going to initiate dozens of other states to introduce similar legislation,” Newsom said at a signing ceremony on James’ show. “It’s going to change college sports for the better by finally having the interests of the athletes on par with the interests of the institutions. Now we’re rebalancing that power.”

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James was able to join the NBA without being required to spend a year in college, as most young athletes must now do. He has been a vocal critic of NCAA rules prohibiting student athletes from profiting off their likenesses, measures that many see as exploitative.

The Pac-12 Conference has spoken out against the bill, raising the concern that members California State University, Stanford, UCLA and USC could lose their NCAA membership as a result.

“Our universities have led important student-athlete reform over the past years,” the conference said in a statement, “but firmly believe all reforms must treat our student-athletes as students pursuing an education, and not as professional athletes.” [WaPo] — Kevin Sun