CA Law resolution: Time to send in the feds?
Good morning. Thanks for sharing a few moments with Extra Points today. There’s been so much going on that I figured I’d throw in an extra newsletter in your inboxes.
Federal resolution to likeness rights coming?
The huge news in college football over the last few days has been about SB 206, the legislation just signed into law in California that allows college athletes to sell their likeness without penalty from their school or the NCAA.
The one thing college administrators have constantly said they really didn’t, a bevy of different states, all with their slightly different amateurism rules, is already starting to happen. Maybe the passage of SB 206 helped state legislators realize their true passion for economic justice. Maybe they feared ol’ Home State U would be a recruiting disadvantage to UCLA, so they figured they better pass some laws.
Whatever the reason, states are proposing copycat legislation so fast I can barely keep up with everything. Over the last few days, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Minnesota, to go with South Carolina, New York, Illinois and Florida, have all had a state legislator indicate they plan to propose similar legislation. I’ve been told a few more states could join them in the coming weeks.
Even if all of those bills don’t pass, that’s already basically a huge chunk of population. Running a national system where different states or leagues have different rules is possible…we have leagues that don’t give athletic scholarships (like the Ivy or Pioneer) compete with leagues that do, and national corporations have figured out how to navigate different state level labor laws, but a national policy would unquestionably be easier for everybody.
The NCAA would like to set the terms on what that policy would look like. But you know who might beat them to it? The feds.
Ohio Republican Anthony Gonzalez, a former Ohio State standout (I remember rooting for “Gonzo” back in the day) and NFL wide receiver, is looking into proposing national legislation. Via ESPN:.
Gonzalez isn’t the only congressman looking into this. North Carolina Republican Mark Walker also proposed a bill, one currently sitting in the Ways and Means committee. It’s unclear which bill is most likely to advance, or if they will combine in some way.
Gonzalez, as somebody closer to Ohio State AD Gene Smith, is more likely to give the current NCAA process the benefit of the doubt than perhaps other politicians, but Smith’s public comments haven’t exactly signaled a willingness to make too many concessions.
It’s so shocking to me, in this bonkers political environment, that this is an issue that has achieved true, legitimate, bipartisan support. The NCAA could have probably taken a greater leadership role in figuring out what a likeness rights policy might look like, but they’ve dragged their feet, and now risk losing leverage to lawmakers, or perhaps judges.
Like, does this make you think the NCAA leadership understands how dire this situation is? Here’s NCAA president Mark Emmert, talking to the Indy Star:
People say stuff until they don’t, especially at the NCAA, but this certainly doesn’t strike me especially encouraging stuff, if you’re hoping for some good-faith bargaining.
Maybe some of this conflict is generational?
I thought Dan Wolken over at USA TODAY actually brought up an interesting point. Perhaps there is some friction in how senior NCAA and college leadership is handling this crisis.
Guys like Gene Smith, Michael Drake, Barry Alvarez, John J. Degioia and Bob Bowlsby, either members of the likeness committee or highly vocal critics, are well past 60. They’ve mostly been involved in athletics administration for a long time. And while seasoned institutional leadership can have a lot of positives, it can also make seeing the need for transformational change pretty difficult.
By the time the rubber really the road on likeness rights, many folks currently in the top of athletics administration will be retired. Can the next generation of leaders help negotiate a more lasting peace? Or will we have more doomsday rhetoric and a long, ugly, fight?
And as the L.A. Times reminds us, uh, well, that doomsday rhetoric ain’t exactly new.
You can only cry wolf so many times. We should be past the point of taking those threats seriously now. The time is to seriously engage with lawmakers and come up with real proposals, so solutions can be built outside of the courtroom as much as possible, and as quickly as possible.
After all, we’d like to write about actual football games too.
Thanks again for reading and supporting Extra Points. If you enjoyed this newsletter, why not subscribe, or tell a friend about Extra Points? Additional questions, concerns, feedback, hot takes or bagman instructions can be sent to [email protected], or @MattSBN on Twitter.