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NCAA Protests California Bill that Allows Student Athletes to be Paid

FILE - The NCAA logo is seen at center court at The Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pa., March 18, 2015.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association is urging the governor of California not to sign a bill that would allow college athletes to be paid.

The NCAA, which regulates all U.S. college student athletes, released a letter Wednesday that said the bill “would erase the critical distinction between college and professional athletics” and would “negatively impact more than 24,000 California student-athletes across three divisions.”

The organization urged California Governor Gavin Newsom to not allow the bill to become law. Newsom has not said whether he will sign the bill.

The bill, known as the Fair Pay to Play Act, would allow student athletes to hire agents and negotiate payments for the use of their name, image or likeness.

While college athletes are often offered extremely lucrative scholarships, the NCAA does not allow them to be paid. The organization says it is studying the issue of paying student athletes and if the policy is to change, it wants the change to happen on a national scale.

The bill has the support of Los Angeles Lakers basketball star LeBron James, who skipped college to be able to play professionally.

But California colleges have sided with the NCAA, saying the passage of the bill should be delayed until the NCAA reaches some conclusions on the issue.