Good for Andy Staples, who made the call to Rep. Mark Walker I was hoping somebody in the media would make in the wake of the news that the NCAA would
being begin exploring allowing players to market their names, likenesses and images without ending their college eligibility.
Walker, as you might
except expect, didn’t dismiss the development outright, but did express a cautious skepticism about the NCAA’s intentions.
“I want to make sure there’s more action than smoke,” Walker says. “There have been other meetings in the past. I’m going to be positive that hopefully there’s some motivation to really come out of this with a game plan.”
He’s a Congressman, after all. He knows something about how bureaucracies work.
Walker knows all about bureaucratic tar pits. He works in one. “I thought Congress was good at beating issues into the ground,” Walker says. “But we may have to pay homage to the NCAA if they can’t get something done here.”
So, he will be watching.
Meanwhile, they’ll be watching on Capitol Hill. “We’re going to monitor what comes out of this,” Walker says. “If this is just another thing where we hear they’re just going to create another talking group for the next couple of years, we’re going to raise a stink about it.”
And what would keep them from raising that stink? “A plan of action, even if it’s not immediately implemented, to say ‘Over the next two to five years, this is the course of action steps we’re going to take to make sure these student-athletes have access to the free market like other students and like every other American,’” Walker says. “If there is a game plan to do something like that, then we’re going to applaud them and work with them to try to see that come to fruition. But if it’s more hyperbole, then I’m going to beat the drum even louder.”
There’s a fair amount of wiggle room there, but it’s not endless. Is the NCAA willing to take the hint? I’d say it’s even money, at best.