An Open Letter to California

Dear California,

Remember in the pre-pandemic times of September when you did your own thing and passed the Fair Pay to Play Act going full Leroy Jenkins on the NCAA’s asses?

SOURCE – On Monday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act into law. The bill permits college athletes in the state to hire agents and be paid for endorsements. For the first time, student athletes will be allowed to promote products and companies and financially benefit from their college sports activities. The legislation bypasses an National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) ban on players receiving any compensation aside from scholarships. Current NCAA regulations disallow student athletes from executing any endorsement deals or accepting payment for the use of their images. The new California law, which is scheduled to go into effect in 2023, would now allow them to reap the financial rewards for their athletic abilities. It would also bar the NCAA from retaliating against the colleges and student athletes.

The NCAA has a lot at stake. The organization realized over $1 billion in revenue and profits of about $27 million in 2018. The NCAA—along with college sports conferences—are fighting this law, arguing that it will bring chaos to college sports and “and make unattainable the goal of providing a fair and level playing field,” according to an NCAA statement. Sports economist Andy Schwarz, a supporter of the California law, asserts that college sports are already uneven and “the belief that talent is fairly evenly distributed across the country is blatantly false.” 

The NCAA wouldn’t have been able to continue in that current (however shitty) system. One state decides their players get paid while others do not? Who all else accepts it? How would have the NCAA punished other schools to not comply?

SOURCE – The NCAA is ratcheting up its opposition to a California bill that would allow college athletes in the state to earn compensation for the use of their own name, image or likeness, beginning in 2023.

In a letter to the chairs of two State Assembly committees last week, NCAA President Mark Emmert implied that if the bill becomes law as it is written, California schools could face the prospect of being prohibited from participating in NCAA championships. That includes 23 NCAA Division I schools, four of which are in the Pac-12 Conference.

The bill was passed with that opposition on the table. You were willing to turn yourself into the AAF and gamble that you would still get the same exposure with seasons filled with exhibition games. You were going to go full Peter Griffin. Never go full Peter Griffin.

The NCAA then chose to move forward seeing the calamity that gamble would cause, and enacted theirs to take place two years before your bill.

SOURCE At its meeting this week, the Board of Governors supported rule changes to allow student-athletes to receive compensation for third-party endorsements both related to and separate from athletics. It also supports compensation for other student-athlete opportunities, such as social media, businesses they have started and personal appearances within the guiding principles originally outlined by the board in October.

While student-athletes would be permitted to identify themselves by sport and school, the use of conference and school logos, trademarks or other involvement would not be allowed. The board emphasized that at no point should a university or college pay student-athletes for name, image and likeness activities

Everyone got what they wanted and the problem is dissolved, correct? No. Now reports are coming out that you are canceling “nearly all in-person classes” through the fall semester.

I am doing my best to not be “I Need Football Guy,” but dammit I need football. America needs football. The players need football. Do what you have to do. Scan temps. Isolate the players. Collegiate athletes are connected to teams of doctors, much more than the typical person. Empty the stadiums if need be. Find a way. We need football.

Quit being weird, California. If you hold a grudge against the NCAA, don’t fight it out in front of the kids. Come to the table. Imagine the transfer portal if you shut the season down?

We live in COVID times now. We live in fear. Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. That is COVID; COVID is fear. Fear always exists. Do not allow the fear to win. Do the right thing.

-grit

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