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.