The movement to pay college athletes was further legitimized this week when California lawmakers approved Senate Bill 206, also known as the Fair Pay to Play Act. Now, South Carolina lawmakers are looking to follow the lead of their Golden State counterparts.

State Sen. Marlon Kimpson (D) and state Rep. Justin Bamberg, (D), plan to file a bill similar to SB 206 in January when the state’s General Assembly resumes, according to The State.

“The legislation passed in California is a sign of the times,” Kimpson told The State. “The NCAA is not an amateur sports league. This is a multibillion dollar sports empire where everyone involved makes money except the players on the field who earn it.”

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Originally proposed by state Sen. Nancy Skinner (D), SB 206 has received praise from the likes of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and LeBron James. It was approved unanimously in the California State Assembly, 72-0, and is expected to be signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), though it will not take effect until January 1, 2023.

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The bill would allow student-athletes to be paid for their name, image and likeness through endorsement deals, sponsorships, autograph signings and other similar income opportunities.

South Carolina’s proposal would “allow the state’s biggest colleges to pay $5,000-a-year stipends to athletes in profitable sports like football and basketball,” per The State. Like SB 206, it would also let student-athletes make money from sponsorships and autograph sales.

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SB 206 was initially passed in July, prompting a letter from NCAA President Mark Emmert warning that paying players would be the death knell of the amateurism of college athletics as we know it.

“We recognize all of the efforts that have been undertaken to develop this bill in the context of complex issues related to the current collegiate model that have been the subject of litigation and much national debate,” Emmert wrote. “Nonetheless, when contrasted with current NCAA rules, as drafted the bill threatens to alter materially the principles of intercollegiate athletics …”

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Kimpson and Bamberg brought up ideas similar to the Fair Pay to Play Act in the past but gained no traction. Now Kimpson sees the action being taken in California as a step in a right direction.

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“The first time around there was hostility,” Kimpson said. “But I think everybody recognizes that things are different. We see this is no longer amateur.”

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