California to pay college athletes, UW's Alvarez responds

California’s governor signed SB 206, also known as the Fair Pay to Play Act, into law on Sept 30. The plan to pay college athletes beginning in 2023 has raised eyebrows from UW–Madison athletic director Barry Alvarez, among others, who says he wouldn’t schedule games against California teams because “pay for play” makes them professionals, not amateurs. Alvarez’s comments came during a sports panel organized by WTMJ-AM in Milwaukee. Legal challenges to California’s laws are likely.

The law would allow students to earn money from endorsements, putting their names on shoes or doing car commercials, for example.

According to a report, Alvarez pointed to compensation a UW student football or basketball player already receives in Madison, including a tax-free monthly stipend (spending money), room and board, books, tuition, and medical care.

UW’s football program has games scheduled against UCLA in 2029 and 2030 that were booked in 2017. There’s no word on whether the schedule will be altered.