GENESEE COUNTY (WJRT)- (09/30/19)- "There's a lot of money in college sports and it's been spread out to everybody except the athlete." said retired NFL player Courtney Hawkins.
Former NFL player and Beecher grad Courtney Hawkins knows a thing or two about the business of college sports.
Hawkins spent his college years at Michigan State University, where he received a scholarship to play football for the Spartans.
"The scholarships, that some athletes receive are equivalent at some schools to $200,000 or $150,000, but outside of that, being a former college athlete myself without having income coming in, some days were tough," Hawkins said.
Hawkins said if he had been able money off of his name as a high profile college athlete, it would have made a huge difference back then.
"Having that kind of money in college, I don't know if I would have been ready for it. College prepared me for the NFL," He said.
But there's a new ball game in town, at least in California.
The Governor signed into law the Fair Pay to Play Act.
This allows student athletes enrolled in public and private four-year colleges and universities in the state to earn money from their name, image, or likeness.
Student athletes will also be able to hire sports agents and not lose their scholarships if they receive income for their work.
Hawkins said, "It is well overdue, because there is a lot, millions and millions of dollars made each game and the players see none of it."
But not everyone agrees. The NCAA released a statement that said:
“As a membership organization, the NCAA agrees changes are needed to continue to support student-athletes, but improvement needs to happen on a national level through the NCAA’s rules-making process,” the statement read. “Unfortunately, this new law already is creating confusion for current and future student-athletes, coaches, administrators and campuses, and not just in California.”
But will other states like Michigan, follow California?
Hawkins wonders what will happen to some athletes who decide to transfer to other colleges, if they don't.
"Does that mean athletes from California come play in Michigan they are now going to be ineligible? So I think there is a lot of questions to be answered," Hawkins said.
ABC 12 reached out to the University of Michigan and Michigan State University for reaction to California's new law. We have not heard back.