University of California’s Lucrative Athletes – What Is SB 1401?

Jamal Madni
The PAC12 Logo On The Field Of The Rose Bowl. Photo Credit: PXFuel
The PAC12 Logo On The Field Of The Rose Bowl. Photo Credit: PXFuel

University of California’s Lucrative Athletes – What Is SB 1401?

Ladies and gentlemen, the mass metamorphosis from student to “pro-dent” athlete is unfolding right before our eyes. Well, maybe not right this second, but perhaps an indication as large as Patrick Beverly’s mouth, Colin Cowherd’s Trojan love, or Tom Brady’s FOX contract will arrive as soon as Thursday. That’s the day Senate Bill 1401, also known as the “College Athlete Race and Gender Equity Act” will learn its fate on either advancing to the Senate floor like a dramatic Luka Doncic playoff run or methodically dying in Appropriations as systematically as a Chris Paul led team blowing a 2-0 series lead. 

SB 1401 states that all California schools, in the case of men’s basketball, women’s basketball, and football, must share 50% of that sport’s athletic department revenues (minus per capita student-athlete financial aid) with the players of those respective sports. Now I know what you’re thinking Bruin fans, “Why is this news? U$C has been ‘revenue sharing’ with its players since the 70s.”

But in all seriousness, this is a landmark piece of legislation that, together with an unregulated transfer portal along with Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) exchanges, has created the most seismic tectonic shift college football has seen in over a century. For instance, given USC’s football revenue, EACH Trojan would be scheduled to make $200,000 next season, if SB 1401 passes. 

The PROs for UCLA are a sizeable football recruiting advantage over every PAC-12 school outside of USC (given Cal and Stanford football revenues continue to be modest courtesy of consistently lean fan attendance), as four-year earnings for prospects during their time in Westwood will balloon well into six-figures. Furthermore, Ed O’Bannon’s greatest legacy (beyond the ’95 basketball natty) will be actualized…the players on whose load-bearing backs university sports brands accrue tens of millions of dollars, will finally have a seat at the collection agency with their hands rightfully open in a revenue share. 

The CONs for UCLA are signaling the inevitable end of all collegiate sports outside basketball and football. The revenue earned by the big three sports are used to subsidize all other athletic department sports, staffs, and operations. This revenue now goes from gymnastics, track and field, volleyball, tennis, and soccer…directly to Zach Charbonnet and Jaime Jaquez Jr. Furthermore, the externalities will force SEC and Big Ten powers to ramp up their NIL offerings (or pass a similar bill for their respective states). Thereby exclusively concentrating the elite basketball and football talent even further to the top handful of programs. All the while potentially transforming the pageantry and connection of college sports into a more mercenary and anonymous construct like the NBA’s G-League or MLB’s minor leagues.

Historic? Definitely. Polarizing? Absolutely. Impactful? Obviously. LAFB wants to hear your take! Join the conversation and choose a side below! 

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The PAC12 Logo On The Field Of The Rose Bowl. Photo Credit: PXFuel

The PAC12 Logo On The Field Of The Rose Bowl. Photo Credit: PXFuel