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Florida's Joakim Noah puts away a slam dunk during the secon

Source: Orlando Sentinel / Getty

California opened the way for college athletes to hire agents and make money from endorsement deals with sneaker companies, soft drink makers, car dealerships and other sponsors, Monday after Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the nation’s first bill that’s set to take effect in 2023.

The new bill could upend amateur sports in the U.S. and trigger a legal challenge.

Newsom hopes to bring more fairness to college athletics and let players share in the wealth they create for their schools. Critics have long complained that universities are getting rich off the backs of athletes — often, black athletes struggling to get by financially.

“Other college students with a talent, whether it be literature, music, or technological innovation, can monetize their skill and hard work,” the governor said. “Student athletes, however, are prohibited from being compensated while their respective colleges and universities make millions, often at great risk to athletes’ health, academics and professional careers.”

In a statement, the NCAA said it is working to revise its rules on making money off a player’s name and likeness. But it said any changes should be made at the national level through the NCAA, not through a patchwork of state laws.

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