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California and the NCAA

John Rowland

Posted on November 2, 2019 21:41

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The governor of California recently signed a bill that will blur the lines between college athletics and professional sports.

 

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is the body that regulates student-athlete issues at many North American colleges and universities. It has had near-monopoly power with respect to what these athletes and educational institutions are permitted to do on things like recruiting, scheduling and athlete compensation.

So now comes a California bill that will allow college athletes in that state to hire agents, to "more easily make money off their own name, image, and likeness." Other states have crafted similar bills; federal legislation is also in the works.

The recent passage of this legislation in California represents a bad precedent for the NCAA in terms of lost power and influence. Witness that the NCAA had sent a letter to California's governor (Gavin Newsom) urging him to veto the bill, calling it "unconstitutional."

After signing the bill, instead of focusing on California's huge problems with homelessness, border chaos, and budget woes, Newsom has been "grandstanding," his behavior called out by some as "disappointing and disgusting."

But then, this same governor has also made it legal to eat roadkill.

Anyway, the Commissioner of the Pacific-12 Conference (Larry Scott) has expressed "serious concerns" about the new sports law, which doesn't go into effect until 2023. Seeking "common rules" and a "national" response, Scott doesn't believe that state legislatures should decide how college sports are run. 

So it's somewhat funny to hear the leader of the Conference of Champions now emphasizing the relatively humble characteristics of "education, amateur, and student."

Currently, many college athletes receive full-ride athletic scholarships, free rides which, depending on the particular institution attended, can ultimately value out into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Anyone who has personally incurred massive student loan debt or paid through the nose for their own college educations, will certainly (and rightly) view these scholarship subsidies as compensation -- as being paid.

So racial considerations aside, what seems to be involved here is the issue of "more." Fair enough.

But this issue has already had very interesting implications nationwide. Just this past Tuesday, in seeking to balance change with "the values of college sports and higher education," the NCAA Board of Governors voted unanimously to take a step which would allow amateur athletes to "benefit from the use of their name, image, and likeness."

John Rowland

Posted on November 2, 2019 21:41

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