Monday, September 30, 2019

State of California defies NCAA; enacts law legalizing pay-for-play

A new law is set to take effect in California in 2023 that will allow college athletes to sign endorsement contracts and earn big bucks, just like professional athletes do.

This sounds like a good idea if (like me) you believe that anyone with a God-given talent should be allowed to earn whatever the market will bear in exchange for their notoriety.

The new law won't let colleges pay athletes. It only prohibits schools for disqualifying them if they accept money or other things of value from others. So like with most other initiatives taken by impatient politicos trying to rush what will ultimately happen anyway, someone is going to get hurt.

Beware the law of unintended consequences: The National Collegiate Athletics Association sets all the rules for intercollegiate competition played under its banner. In one breath, it can prohibit institutions from competing in big money NCAA-sanctioned events. Like ... football bowl games. And the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

Stanford, Southern Cal and UCLA will be allowed to have players on their teams who have signed large contracts. But...

These schools will likely find themselves expelled from the league. The schools will be excluded from the rich revenue pools generated by NCAA TV contracts and postseason play in football and basketball.

Schools in their conference or region could be prohibited from playing them, fracturing conferences and spoiling rivalries.

The schools' non-revenue sports like women's gymnastics, men's golf and androgynous wrestling will see their only sources of funding dry up. Athletes across the board will suffer.

Since membership in the NCAA is voluntary, there is nothing the school can do except form their own league and petition ESPN for time on television.

Good luck.

The NCAA has seen enough of the 'eligibility crisis' in high-profile sports. It has begun relaxing some rules and going more leniently on revoking eligibility of student athletes found to have accepted monetary or other benefits because of their fame or athletic ability. Sooner or later, the ability of college athletes to capitalize on their skills will come to pass.

By trying to rush this, California (and South Carolina; maybe others) will probably hurt the players they're trying to help and do greater harm to athletes in other sports, too.

Blowing up the system the Cali way will do far more harm than good.


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