Congressional revenge is a dish best served cold.

Rep. Mark Walker is chairman of the Republican Study Committee, the largest Republican caucus in the House.  He hails from North Carolina, so this shouldn’t surprise you in the least.

… A three-sport letterman at Trinity Baptist College in Jacksonville, Fla., Walker and his staff have been studying the issue and considering legislative solutions since 2016 — the same year the NCAA, the ACC and the NBA moved sporting events out of North Carolina due to the passage of House Bill 2. At the time, Walker criticized the NCAA as “elitists who are attempting to extort and embarrass North Carolina for defending its citizens.”

What issue, you may ask?  Why, what else would hurt like a pocketbook issue?

The chairman of a powerful group of Republicans in the U.S. House called on the NCAA to allow college athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness, joining a growing chorus of influential people advocating for major change to the way colleges treat student-athletes and threatening legislation if the NCAA does not make changes quickly.

Rep. Mark Walker, from Greensboro, wrote that current NCAA rules regarding the name, image and likeness of college athletes “strips them of their identity and sovereignty over their public image.”

“As with every other freedom, they don’t go away. They are just transferred to empower someone else. In this case, those publicity rights and the large wealth created by them are held tight by school athletic departments, sports conference board rooms and NCAA administrators,” Walker wrote in an opinion article for The News & Observer.

Now, before you go ahead and hail the man as Jeffrey Kessler’s blood brother, note that “Walker is not in favor of paying players, his spokesman said.”  Freedom only goes so far.

This is more along the lines of “Nice little amateurism racket you got going there, NCAA.  Shame if anything were to happen to it.”  Which is what you risk when you stick your snout where it’s not wanted.

Bottom line, this is more light than heat.  But it’s also a good indication that seeking an antitrust exemption in Congress is likely to face choppier waters than the schools would prefer.

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27 Comments

Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

27 responses to “Congressional revenge is a dish best served cold.

  1. The NCAA isn’t getting an antitrust exemption in today’s political environment. If Rs called for it, Ds would object. If Ds called for it, Rs would reject it. I don’t like it because it’s crony capitalism.

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  2. Cosmic Dawg

    I don’t think we ought to pay players either – the issue is not amatuerism, it’s (a) coerced amatuerism and (b) limiting a student CITIZEN’s right as an American to get money from anyone who wants to give it to them.

    I don’t care if that’s Nike, a rich booster, or an Athens car dealership. In what other sphere of our society would such a one sided, restictive, bizarre agreement hold up?

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  3. ASEF

    Walker was at the center of the House Chaplain fiasco, wasn’t he? He’s a complete buffoon, the political product of NCs legendary gerrymandered districts.

    But he definitely is a “low hanging fruit / pitchfork” variety of pol, so it actually reinforces your point. NCAA is an obvious, easy target from both sides of the aisle – different motivations, same result.

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  4. Dawg in Miami 2

    I’ve never posted this in reference to the topic, but always thought it. Seems somewhat similar:

    I was a music major, on scholarship. While in school, I routinely played professionally without issue. I often performed with my professors. I was even able to join the musicians union. It was never an issue. There is no “governing body” that has any say over what I do with my talents, even though I am on scholarship to perfect and use those talents for the university. They never collected nor did they have any right (IMO) to the money I earned outside the university. It seems absurd to even think that. If I had gone on to win Grammy’s and sell millions of records, they still would have no claim, even if I had made millions while in school.

    Just a thought.

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    • 92 grad

      Same here. I used to play gigs with savannah, Charleston, and the rare extra with atl symphonies, all made possible through my professors. Played all sorts of things and most were kind of referred through the fine arts professors. This same situation makes my brain hurt when athletes can’t do anything.

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      • Got Cowdog

        Playing Devil’s Advocate to you two, how much (outside of your scholarship) did your university contribute toward your housing, extracurricular training, academic support, clothing, travel, nutrition, etc.?

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        • Got Cowdog

          How were you compensated? Cash from the bar tip jar? A check from the venue you played?
          Another question: What was your percentage of compensation as opposed to of your sponsor’s?

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          • 92 grad

            Musicians get paid very little, not surprising. In the 90’s I’d make $2-300 bucks for rehearsals and 2 performances with a symphony orchestra somewhere. Church stuff was $75-200 depending on the size of the group and Easter was always $2-900. My scholarship (when tuition was $700/quarter (pre semester here) was for half, 25% redcoat and 25% school of music.

            I know there’s an ocean between football players and the rest of us and I think mayor paints a similar picture, but, the at face value the core issue is identical. Whatever we did in our respective field of expertise we made money on the side using university contacts/referrals.

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    • Mayor

      Well, since you brought it up, I played on the golf team in college, won an awful lot of money betting (not on college tournaments or matches, though–just in casual rounds) often from people who just wanted to play with me because I was a good player, and nobody said that violated any “amateurism” standards. Nobody said, “Suspend him!” Nobody made me give up my ill gotten financial gains either. What pisses me off the most was what the NCAA (and Georgia) did to AJ Green for selling his own property–it was HIS JERSEY for crying out loud! If he wanted to shred it, burn it, use it to clean floors or sell it he had an absolute right to do so.

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  5. This is an area (not the only one) where the NCAA has been really stupid. To ever involve themselves in national, state, or local political issues that do not have a direct impact on athletics is just plain dumb.

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  6. DoubleDawg1318

    I don’t see why the NCAA refuses to embrace the Olympic model. It reduces dramatically the regulatory burden, does not require the schools to figure out a payment scheme, likely takes the steam out of the union movement, and the schools don’t have to share their money. If my assumptions here are correct, then it boggles the mind why they won’t budge.

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    • Mayor

      ‘Cause Emmert and Co. are just too stupid.

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    • 69Dawg

      You hit on one of the reasons,”It reduces dramatically the regulatory burden..” Why if those pesky regulations disappear somebody making a lot of money might not have a job. Bureaucracies don’t give up their turf without a fight especially when they fight with other peoples money.

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  7. I agree with what most of y’all said, but you do know why the rules are in place don’t you? It’s so some rich booster can’t hire Nick Chubb to turn his sprinklers on each morning and pay him $10,000 a week. Of course the sprinklers come on automatically. Or a UGA fan could have Sony come by his car dealership each Saturday and shake hands for $10,000 a week. I have no problem with this, it’s the free market. But it could lead to some interesting recruiting tactics.

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    • Dawgoholic

      Not so sure you’d have that many people hiring players at crazy prices – might have a couple but it would just reduce what they gave the university otherwise.

      The other interesting thing it would do though is incentivize winning big. A lot more endorsements for players on a championship team than one that goes 8-4.

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  8. Stumpy Pepys

    Perhaps the model for student-athlete compensation could be the PGA TOUR’s player retirement plan. Because PGA TOUR members are independent contractors, they are not eligible for qualified retirement plans like employees. If the retirement plan is unchanged from when I worked at the TOUR, players earn deferred compensation, collecting credits for each cut made. The value of each credit depends on the policy board’s annual distribution to the plan. Each player’s retirement plan earnings go into an account for which he can make his own investment decisions — much like a 401(k). I don’t know what criteria should be used to determine how a college athlete might earn credit, but I think a deferred compensation plan might make some sense.

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  9. 209

    I have figured out this paying players. Every player and I mean every player. First team all the way to walk-on B-team guys. UGA wins on Sat. and the next Monday you get a check for $5,000.00. Lose and you get zero. Get to SEC Champ game is 5 plus 5 bonus for winning. Play-off game is 5 plus 10 bonus for winning. NC game is 5 plus 20 for winning. Now let’s see if gamblers can buy players or any player bitches about this not being fair.

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