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Mark Emmert calls likeness rights an ‘existential threat’ to college sports

Photo: © Robert Deutsch | USATSI

Photo: © Robert Deutsch | USATSI

The debate over paying student athletes is only getting more heated following California Governor Gavin Newsom’s plans to sign into law the Fair Pay to Play Act, which will allow athletes in the state to profit off their name, image, and likeness. As you might imagine, that’s not going over too well with the NCAA; in fact, according to CBS Sports, Mark Emmert told a group of Division I athletic directors yesterday that granting athletes such rights would be an ‘existential threat’ to college sports.

Emmert continued to call any further athlete compensation from it “pay for play.” An NCAA working group formed in May to explore the issue is expected to issue its first report in October. However, a formal change in NCAA legislation addressing name, image and likeness may not be in place until 2021. When passed, the California law will not go into effect until January 2023.

Earlier this month, the NCAA Board of Governors sent Governor Newsom a letter calling the bill “unconstitutional,” and said if it’s adopted, the organization could declare all student athletes at the 58 NCAA schools in the state ineligible. Emmert insists that wasn’t a threat — ha! — but said if more states adopt similar laws, it will create utter chaos for the organization.

“You’ve got 50 different states with 50 different labor law rules,” Emmert said. “If you move into what are, in essence, labor negotiations, you have to do that state-by-state … It just falls apart in its complexity.”

The solution to all this? Come up with a reasonable solution and beat California to the punch. I won’t hold my breath.

[CBS Sports]

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

58 Comments for Mark Emmert calls likeness rights an ‘existential threat’ to college sports

  1. Catcasey1
    11:30 am September 25, 2019 Permalink

    What ever he’s for I’m against

    • greginky
      11:35 am September 25, 2019 Permalink

      The NCAA seems to me like they’re too busy trying to protect their own lively hood instead of doing anything positive for student-athletes. That is my personal opinion at least.

    • GoCatz
      12:36 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      You both are spot on!!

    • Bluebloodtoo
      7:05 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      It’s tough to separate those two since collegiate athletics is dependent on the NCAA to function. It doesn’t HAVE to be, but unwinding those two things would take a long time and lots of money.

  2. 4everUKblue
    11:54 am September 25, 2019 Permalink

    But it’s ok for programs to get away with paying recruits (dUKe, AZ,KU,Auburn,Washington) and cheating academically….cough UNC. Yeah that makes so much sense.

    • Look Out Fireworks
      12:04 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      Can someone please tell me why you capitalize UK when you’re typing duke? Do you wish UK was part of their program? Are you so infatuated with their program you use any opportunity to link them to UK? Please, someone explain.
      For me, I don’t want UK affiliated with Duke on a regular basis.

    • 4everUKblue
      1:20 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      It’s because you can’t type dUKe without UK, I thought that was pretty obvious.

    • 4everUKblue
      1:33 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      And since you asked oh obtuse one, I hate dUKe more than you ever can. I really could care less what you prefer, knowing it irritates you makes me want to do it even more.

    • Look Out Fireworks
      1:46 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink


      Didn’t know hating duke was a competition, but congratulations to you for being more hateful than me!

      It was an honest question, I wasn’t trying to be rude, I just don’t get it. You want UK to be part of duke, so be it.

    • Look Out Fireworks
      1:48 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      And since you resort to calling someone “obtuse” for asking a legitimate question, thanks for the free rent in your brain!

      Knowing it irritates me makes you want UK to be a part of duke even more, that classy!

    • 4everUKblue
      2:19 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      LOL you funny. You questioned my loyalty to UK, I take that very seriously, if you can’t see it as disrespecting dUKe then you are obtuse.

    • 4everUKblue
      2:21 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      I thought you were being disrespectful but that’s the problem with text. If I misjudged you I apologize. To me typing it that way is the ultimate form of disrespect to K and their cheating program.

    • Look Out Fireworks
      2:25 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      Well it doesn’t come off as disrespect, it comes off as infatuation. Like when UK was promoting the Gr8ness campaign, combining recognition of our 8th NC with greatness. So it seems like you’re trying to combine UK with duke.

    • Bluehender
      2:31 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      Fireworks must be new around here 4ever. I think he’s about to flame out. Most people around here know why you spell dUKe the way you do. Then he tries to say he’s irritating you, when he’s the irritated one from the the get go, going back and looking at his first comment.

    • Look Out Fireworks
      2:43 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      Bluebender, did you actually go back and read from the first comment? Because neither of us said it irritates him, it irritates me and that makes him want to do it even more, as he gets pleasure in writing dUKe slightly more thinking about how it irritates me.

      Actually, I’ve been around here for many years, and I have always wondered why people love to associate UK with duke. I find it particularly interesting when people write it that way when talking about how much “dUKe SUCKS!” Because at first glance is appears you are talking about UK, not duke.

      So, I was asking an honest question, as it had confused me for quite some time. I was not trying to be rude to 4ever nor was I being “obtuse”. I know what you’re doing with dUKe, I just don’t think it comes across as disrespectful. If anything, it looks like you see UK and Duke as one in the same, especially questionable when you say “dUKe….”

      So, 4ever, not being rude or disrespectful, I just don’t agree.

      Bluebender, mind your own business.

    • Goose
      3:56 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      If I was a betting man (and I am), this posting by Bluehender looks like a burner account created by 4everUKblue to back himself up. Why would a 3rd party to this discussion between you two be so butthurt?? Looks really fishy to me 4everUKblue….just sayin’

    • UKCatAttack
      4:01 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      It’s sort of like the dUKe shirts where people put a red X over the D and E. The point is you can’t spell Duke without UK. It’s kind of like the statement their is no “I” in TEAM.

    • Bluehender
      4:27 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      With all due respect Fireworks, sorry gotta call it like I see it, you must be an idiot…

    • Bluehender
      4:28 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      I guess obtuse might be a better word..

    • Look Out Fireworks
      4:52 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      Ah yes, Bluegender, I must be an idiot for disagreeing with someone.

      I, however, was not the one who misread a conversation and used an Incorrect fact to unnecessarily plant myself in an otherwise civil conversation. Nor did I resort to petty name calling.

      Thanks though!

    • Bluehender
      5:33 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      You’re welcome

    • 4everUKblue
      11:17 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      Well Goose you suck at betting, I don’t need a burner account to speak my mind and I don’t need anyone to back me up. I do appreciate Bluehender, formally know as Henderblue backing me, he and I think alike and are long time UK fans. Nice conspiracy theory though Goose.

  3. Ned T.
    11:57 am September 25, 2019 Permalink

    I cannot decide which I hate the most—California or the NCAA.

    • JPhelps
      12:00 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      Which do I hate more? California or the NCAA?

      That’s a tough one… Yep. I think I’m gonna have to go with Louisville here.

    • Ned T.
      12:39 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      @JPhelps. Good call. I am ashamed that my priorities were out of whack. Nothing worse than a Dirtybird.

  4. ukjaybrat
    12:12 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

    No. it’s just an ‘existential threat’ to the NCAA. Which I am all for. They are the worst non-profit organization I have ever seen. except maybe peta

    • nocode96
      2:32 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      Exactly right. It’s a threat to their bottom line, that’s all it’s ever been.

      Also, I don’t eat meat and agree with you 100% that peta is the worst. They kill animals rather than allowing g a human to “own” one as a pet. I guess death is what dogs want instead of constant love, attention, food, and belly rubs.

    • Looother
      3:19 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      PETA – People Eating Tasty Animals…

  5. RackEmWillie
    12:26 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

    I’m not sure the likeness rights issue will do anything more than create some pretty big gaps between programs. Places like UK and other top tier programs will be able to let players get WAY more money off of stuff than other schools.

    • J-Dub421
      1:11 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      The premier programs are already getting all those players anyway.

    • RackEmWillie
      1:22 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      I mean, in the current top 10 for recruiting rankings, there’s Oregon, UGA, Memphis, and USC. I wouldn’t call any of those “premier.”

  6. Wade
    12:27 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

    So if there’s no names on jerseys they don’t get paid. College is an experience not a job. I’m not against them being paid but it’s been this way forever. Football might be the one to discuss bc players have to play 3 yrs basketball and baseball can go directly or after a yr and join teams gleague go overseas all that. But you could say pick one scholarship or get paid of your likeness and gamble on jersey sales for 20% your choice? I know what I’d pick it ain’t the sales. Or have an option after 4 years or 3 to collect a type of bonus from the school or reimbursement for sales

    • Soylentbeans
      6:26 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      Im not sure they would be getting money off of Jersey sales….more like money for autographs, apperances, commercials, they could get verified twitter, instagram, facebook accounts and make money off that.

    • Soylentbeans
      6:27 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      I dont know Maybe they would have to take names off jerseys to not give them a percentage of Jersey sales.

  7. kentuckybackupplayer
    12:30 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

    You can’t spell corruption without Emmert. State Law.

  8. UKFanSC
    12:46 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

    Emmett = Feckless

  9. J-Dub421
    1:13 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

    Players can’t make money off their names and likenesses, only I can do that!!! – Mark Emmert (probably).

    • grammarpoliceUK
      2:56 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      Think the only place Emmert would have his likeness used is on those target practice papers you can buy at Bud’s Gun Shops lol.

    • BobbyBlue
      4:15 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      Emmert very, very,quietly had his salary raised to around $4 mill this year. No wonder he protects the cash cows like Puke and UNCheats, and is suddenly concerned with anything that threatens
      his salary,such as compensation for a kids, likeness.

  10. Lip Man 1
    1:23 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

    Emmert is a perfect example of someone being highly educated with little to no common sense.

  11. Megan
    1:41 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

    I’m certainly a party of one here. I agree basically with Emmert. I hope the governor signs the bill into law and the NCAA declares all the member schools ineligible (though I’m not sure they would be until 2023). That would be delicious. The loss of revenue for those schools will be breathtaking.

    I’m not in the “burn it to the ground” camp. If the NCAA implodes because other states follow suit, those same schools will scramble to replace the NCAA with a sister organization to perform the same functions. They have to. And we’re right back to where we started, with fans hating on the new organization. But I do want the California legislature to understand the consequences of their well-intended but misguided actions. So let it happen.

    • Aar
      4:09 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      Not a party of one. My concern is more about getting it right when allowing NCAA athletes to sell their likeness.

      Stated simply and ignoring a bunch of other considerations, the NCAA’s D1 men’s basketball and football revenues fund minor sport programs at D1 through D3 schools. I think that is worth protecting. Emmert and his cronies’ inflated salaries are not.

      In the end, I’d like to see the system evolve so that the NCAA and its member schools continue to have the likeness rights to their student-athletes that they have today. The change I’d like to see is for the student-athletes to have the right to sell their likeness to both the program’s sponsors and third parties that do not compete with those sponsors. Without knowing the content of the California bill, I doubt that it will work that way. However, I hope it motivates Emmert to implement such a solution sooner than he would without it.

    • Soylentbeans
      6:43 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      A student athlete making money off of their likeness will not stop those other programs and sports from getting their money. Most of that money is made from tv Rights and tournaments. The ncaa basketball tournament brings a billion alone.

  12. runningunnin.454
    2:17 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

    California has not thought this through. Emmert is right, it’s unconstitutional. Can we agree college sports are big business? Games are played across state lines. Games are broadcast and marketed across state lines…big time money.
    Commerce Clause, Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution mandates that no state can pass laws that interfere with interstate commerce. Any business lawyers out there? Gawd, I hate to agree with Emmert, that little worm.

    • Cletis75
      4:21 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      They won’t be paid for playing in a different state. They will be paid for commercials and jersey sales.

  13. grammarpoliceUK
    3:01 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

    I think the California politicians have a lot of people fooled. This isn’t about compensating players. This is about getting all the top players to California to bring in those championship trophies. I have nothing against paying the players some, but those politicians are sports fans too, and really tired of getting their butts handed to them.

  14. TonyMontana
    3:14 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

    If the kids cant make money off of their likeness, than neither should the schools.

  15. Bluehender
    4:26 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

    You would have lost Goose..don’t bet

  16. Mad Max
    5:37 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

    I thank the state of California for their leadership in this area.

    The NCAA has been sick for a long time, and no one has done anything about it.

    This is a threat to the NCAA. Let’s go to the G5 governance model talked about a few years back.

    Put Emmert out of a job. He would fail in any other job he does with the way he conducts business…

    I hope other states follow suit. Soon.

  17. satcheluk
    5:59 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

    California is showing leadership on this issue and North Carolina seems poised to be second. That’s both sides of the isle for all the partisan hacks commenting.

    • Bluebloodtoo
      7:08 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      North Carolina is one of the most liberal states on the east coast. Not surprised they are following California at all.

  18. TPACAT
    6:28 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

    Screw Gavin Newsome and the whole state of California. I hope the NCAA disqualifies all their schools from participation. Why do leftists have to f’ing destroy EVERYTHING?

    • Soylentbeans
      6:47 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      Leting people make money of their name and face Is leftist?

  19. Big Bry 1
    6:37 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

    This is the same man that, due to a grudge he had from his Washington days, PERSONALLY prevented Enes Kanter from playing with the Cats. Never forget that – Mark Emmert really dislikes Kentucky

    • Bluebloodtoo
      7:11 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

      Most people from Washington really dislike the southern states. It was very enlightening to me when I lived there that they would defend so many different beliefs and cultures, but completely subjugate the south. I just don’t understand their logic at all.

  20. jaws2
    9:15 pm September 25, 2019 Permalink

    If this goes through, the IRS is gonna LOVE this! In affect these kids will become employees of the school. The IRS and State Revenue departments are going to get a tax cut off of EVERY student athlete and EVERY school will have to do withholding and file it for every paid athlete. Even if the school pays this on a 1099 it’ll still have to file those. Unless these kids are bright enough they’ll have to have a tax outfit file for them and if it’s on a 1099 there is no tax withheld and they’ll be in for a rude awakening.

    Oh, and if it goes as usual they’ll be taxed like the pro’s. EVERY state they play in will get a cut as well in proportion to the amount of times they play in that state. I can assure you these kids have not thought any of this through and believe all they’re going to do is collect a check. I’ll guarantee you the schools are going to evaluate what it’ll cost them to apply this. I hate to make this long but I’ll guarantee you this has not been thought out.