Wednesday, September 11, 2019

This just got very interesting

Lookie here: California Lawmakers Pass Bill Allowing College Athletes To Profit From Endorsements.

The California State Assembly on Monday passed a bill that would allow college athletes to sign endorsement deals. SB 206, the Fair Pay To Play Act, cleared the Assembly by a vote of 72-0. A version of the bill passed the Senate by a similarly decisive vote in May.

The bill, if it becomes law, would go into effect January 1, 2023. Though none of the bill’s provisions involve schools paying athletes directly, it would prohibit schools in California from revoking scholarships or scholarship eligibility from athletes who profit off their own name, image and likeness.

That is totally reasonable and long overdue. Being a D-1 athlete is a job. Particularly in the big team sports, players generate unfathomable amounts of revenue for universities. Allowing them to receive compensation (not even coming from the schools) is a no-brainer.

Oh, wait:
“We’re firmly against anything that would lead to a pay-for-play system,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott told the New York Times.

Yeah, see, that's a lie. It's not a "pay-for-play" system that's being proposed. It's a "pay for work" system.

Being a high-level athlete is not play. In absolutely no sense is it play. The fact that it's a sport does not make it play, not when the players involved generate millions and millions of dollars for schools.

If universities didn't charge admission to sporting events, they'd be totally right! But they don't.

The present system is just a vast, unpaid labor market. Which is shitty.

In a June letter, NCAA President Mark Emmert had urged California lawmakers to postpone consideration of the bill while an NCAA working group study of amateurism policies is ongoing. 

In the letter, Emmert suggested that colleges in California could be prohibited from competing for NCAA championships, because the bill might give those schools unfair advantages in recruiting athletes:
"We recognize all of the efforts that have been undertaken to develop this bill in the context of complex issues related to the current collegiate model that have been the subject of litigation and much national debate. Nonetheless, when contrasted with current NCAA rules, as drafted the bill threatens to alter materially the principles of intercollegiate athletics and create local differences that would make it impossible to host fair national championships. As a result, it would likely have a negative impact on the exact student-athletes it indents to assist."

Those issues aren't "complex" at all. You have a captive labor force that generates hundreds of millions of dollars, and they are not compensated. They are not "student-athletes." They are "employee-students." The next time you hear the phrase "student-athlete," substitute "employee-students" and see how different that feels. 

The NCAA is on the edge of panic here, because this isn't the only state where legislation is happening. So they can either get out in front of this, or they can get steamrolled, because it's going to happen.

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