California recently passed a bill and signed into law the Fair Pay to Play Act. The law allows college athletes within the state to start earning money off of their name, likeness and image. The bill has been vilified as evil for taking aim at the purity, and sanctity of amateur college sports. Right…because the NCAA is so clean and pure in its current state. It seems every month we hear a new story involving a D1 program and some sort of scandal; be it working with agents and would be players to entice them to play for their school, hosting sex parties, creating fake classes, taking tests for players, working corrupt shoe deals and so on. Don’t tell me this will destroy college sports; The destruction of the NCAA has been taking place long before Billy thought about getting paid for his likeness. Dare I say this; I believe it will actually clean things up a bit. I say a bit because come on, it is college athletics we’re talking about.
Here are the major concerns about the Fair Pay to Play act:
1. It creates an unfair advantage for lesser schools. So you mean to tell me that a recruit will sign with Alabama over Colorado State because of $$? Aren’t they already doing that? In a battle of endorsements, I say Colorado State might have a better shot at getting a 4 or 5 star recruit as who’s to say a dealership in Bama has deeper pockets than one in Colorado?
2. It will be a Title IX nightmare. How is allowing a male OR female an opportunity to seek money off their likeness a nightmare? How does that somehow go against what Title IX is suppose to protect? If Larry’s Soda shop wants to pay Billy, the top QB, to endorse his product that’s on him, a free market business owner. Do you call an NFL or NBA fan sexist because he/she finds the WNBA or women’s tennis boring? You shouldn’t. So would you call a business owner sexist if he/she endorses the star QB instead of the standout Volleyball player? You shouldn’t. But that’s not even an issue as a business has the right to endorse whatever team, player or school they’d like. The NCAA has NOTHING to do with any of it so they can stay clear of those issues. When some people hear “Pay to Play” they see the football team collecting pay checks every week from the AD. Not even close. Basically, you are saying it’s ok for Billy to sign an autograph and get paid for it. If no one wants to pay Shelly for her autograph then that’s too bad, but unfair? Not at all.
3. The athletes will be too distracted and mishandle the fame. Again, aren’t some of them doing that already? I believe an endorsement deal would actually keep student athletes even MORE accountable and perhaps, stay with their school longer. If you do, say or tweet something that’s controversial or harmful, then bye bye endorsement deal. If your GPA drops or your commitment to the team falters then bye bye endorsement deal. These young men and women will have real life experience in dealing with grownup businesses. Will there be regulations in place to insure these athletes aren’t allowing these deals to consume their time? Sure, but if Billy and Shelly can’t handle the load, then again, bye bye deals and perhaps scholarship. Why do we pretend that we are overly concerned for these student athletes? They are 18 and older. They should be able to handle their business and if not, then that’s on them.
Missing anything? This could be great for student athletes and if we all get on the same page, we can easily regulate this. Now, I’d be a fool to think that with this new act it will somehow erase the nature of the NCAA. There will still be enough deceit and under the table deals to keep radio shows in business for years to come. For example, a university could offer a car dealership free on site advertising if they promise to write several hefty checks to Billy or Shelly. Obviously, that would be wrong and illegal in the eyes of the NCAA and would have to be punished if and when it happens. But last I checked it’s also against the rules to have agencies paying top recruits and their families if they promise to go to BIG UNIVERSITY. It’s also against the rules to have sex parties on campus. But guess what…it happens. The NCAA would have to come down hard if and when the new Fair pay to play act is abused.
Bottom line: This will be a good thing for the student athletes and will likely encourage your favorite players to stick around a year or two longer. It will need some regulations, obviously, but ultimately this is a positive move for California schools and likely, all of the NCAA very soon.