There’s a common thought amongst sane individuals surrounding collegiate athletes in the United States: they should be compensated financially.
In California, a law has been passed that might move the needle in that direction. Earlier this week, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law the Fair Pay for Play Act, legislation that allows student athletes in California the right to cash in on their name and likeness in the form of sponsorships, autographs or endorsements without being punished by their school.
This legislation gives student athletes in California the right to participate in television commercials or business advertisements and sell autographed merchandise and other amenities.
To be clear, this bill doesn’t give schools in California the right to pay players a salary, but it does throw a wrench in the NCAA’s stance on pure amateurism of its student athletes.
Of course, most sane people realize that the NCAA’s staunch belief that student athletes shouldn’t be compensated for their likeness and participation in major college athletics is hogwash, but it doesn’t appear that the NCAA is backing down. Mark Emmert, the organization’s president, recently called the bill an “existential threat.”
While the Fair Pay for Play Act won’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2023, it has set a precedent that other states should follow. Representatives from Ohio, Colorado, Florida, New York, Kentucky and a host of other states are moving to propose similar bills soon.
For far too long, the NCAA has demanded that student athletes not be rewarded for making their school millions of dollars a year with their athletic prowess.
Even if student athletes aren’t given a salary by schools (that’s another issue to tackle entirely), they should still have the basic right to capitalize on their name and likeness without losing their athletic eligibility.
As normal citizens and students, you and I have that privilege. Why shouldn’t names like Jerrion Ealy, Devontae Shuler and Doug Nikhazy have the same liberties?
On Wednesday, Ole Miss head football coach Matt Luke was asked about how the college sports landscape might feel the ramifications of legislation such as this. The young coach leading a program recently off NCAA sanctions understandably kept his opinions concealed.
“It’s still very early, and I don’t think anything’s going to happen for two or three more years,” Luke said. “I think the biggest thing is how they’re going to regulate it. I think the SEC will do a great job with having a plan.
“(The) SEC’s always on the forefront of everything because there’s going to be recruiting advantages or disadvantages based on how it’s handled. I think we’ve got a long way to go before we start commenting one way or the other.”
California is on the right side of this issue, and more states will, and should eventually follow suit. It’s not right for players at universities to be disallowed to make money off their name. Also, this could open the door for the NCAA Football video game series to return to the shelves, and who isn’t in favor of that?
The NCAA is a corrupt organization that claims to look out for the interests of student athletes, but, in reality, it just looks out for the interest of its own pockets.
Pay the players.