More thoughts on California’s “Fair Pay to Play Act”

There are a couple of good passages from this post at The Athletic ($$) about the showdown between the NCAA and the California legislature over the latter’s “Fair Pay to Play Act” worth sharing here, not from an advocacy standpoint, but as an informational reference in response to questions I’ve seen in the comments section regularly.

The first is regarding where student-athletes who aren’t the star quarterback or point guard could possibly look to find a way to monetize themselves.  It’s easy to forget the kind of world we live in today, but there are more options for that than perhaps we realize.

… In response to a frequently heard criticism of the bill that it would only enrich a few big-name football and basketball stars, Skinner notes that local businesses, not just national name brands, would be interested in running commercials and giving other NIL-earning opportunities to multiple athletes on college teams. Skinner cited the example of a star female wrestler from a small California town who will never make money as a professional athlete, but under SB 206 would be entitled to receive NIL money from a proud local sponsor.

It’s not just athletes in the traditional “money” sports who would benefit. Skinner points to UCLA superstar gymnast Katelyn Ohashi, whose perfect floor exercise has been viewed by almost 44 million viewers on YouTube. Why, Skinner asks, shouldn’t she be allowed to monetize her athletic success in the way that other YouTube personalities, with far fewer views, have found ways to do?

Why, indeed.

As for the concern about abuse of the rules by boosters, University of San Diego School of Law adjunct law professor Len Simon, who had a role in crafting the bill, maintains that the NCAA would not be precluded from regulation of that problem.

Asked about the possibility that alumni groups or wealthy university supporters could form sham sponsorships, and thereby unleash a bidding war for athletes far beyond what legitimate business sponsors truly intent on gaining athlete endorsers would be willing to pay, Simon told The Athletic that the NCAA still would be within its rights to police such activity, by requiring that NIL agreements with athletes satisfy a legitimate commercial test. Further, the NCAA could insist that NIL payments not be used to steer an athlete to a particular school – a limitation which the NCAA also would have to enforce.

That might not be as hard as you think.  For one thing, players would have different incentives under the new regime that would undercut such behavior.

Simon adds that one virtue of an unrestricted, but legitimate NIL market is that it could “dry up” the under-the-table payments from certain companies to athletes that have been at the heart of the recent college basketball scandal. He asks: “If nationally recruited high school basketball players knew that legitimate payments were around the corner, why would they risk their college eligibility by taking secret payments?”

That’s similar to arguing that additional revenue flowing to student-athletes might also serve to keep more of them in school longer, rather than leaving early trying to take a questionable jump to the NFL and NBA.  I’m not sure how that’s a bad thing for college athletics.

Food for thought, anyway.



Filed under It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery, The NCAA

7 responses to “More thoughts on California’s “Fair Pay to Play Act”

  1. Isn’t it just crazy that all these highly paid academic administrators and NCAA executives aren’t smart enough to come up with these solutions? I guess its hard to think straight when you are negotiating multi million dollar TV contracts while buried in a pile of cash.


  2. MDDawg

    I think that if a non-athlete student can do it, then student-athletes should be able to do it. Like that UCF kicker who was ruled ineligible a couple of years ago because of his youtube channel. Any other college kid could make a youtube channel and monetize it, why not him?


  3. spur21

    Finally something positive from the mouth of a California politician.


  4. chopdawg

    Interesting sideline to the article: colleges might try to claim they could deduct the money athletes make (thru NIL rights) from the stipends the colleges are currently paying.


  5. Cojones

    Why do they risk their college degrees by taking illegal payments? Greed. And that won’t go away when sponsorships appear. It certainly is not a deterrent to student athletes taking illegal donations on top of legal donations. Poor assumption on the writer’s part.

    Methinks that some people are reaching too hard to make things fit into a perfect human world that has to be rediscovered as not so perfect.


  6. HiAltDawg

    Why isn’t UGAA ahead of this and already creating a subscription service to its video archives?

    Then invent some bogus ass kickback to the athlete-students like how they give what? Four Million out of One Hundred Fifty Something Million to the School for “academics.” Get a bunch of rubes (me probably) to shell out X dollars a month on their credit card that they’re too lazy to cancel (me definitely) or just get used to paying it. Split the share all Title IX legal like to all the athlete-students and cloak it in “caring” about the “well-being” and “fair” compensation of the athlete-students and the useful idiots in the Industrial-Legislative-Media complex will turn themselves inside out fawning over it.

    Of course, we’re talking about a group of cocksuckers too lazy and obtuse to get bathrooms one-half step above the Third World (the skybox toilets never overflow) so expect some kind of racist ass, price-gouging after the fact when kids win some sort of compensation award.


  7. Junkyardawg41

    First, shame on me for not subscribing to The Athletic. I am not sure the NCAA would be able to police the activity if they aren’t able to police the under the table activity now. Furthermore, if the NIL is legitimized and monetized, on what basis would big companies/sham booster sponsor programs NOT be allowed to steer a recruit. If the litmus test is “satisfy a legitimate commercial test”, pointing to high school recruiting sites as a commercial interest isn’t that far of a stretch.

    “a limitation which the NCAA also would have to enforce.” — this makes me chuckle. The solution is to create a legal framework, to be policed by an organization that has shown not shown a lot of desire to enforce who doesn’t have the legal basis to investigate and thus police. What could go wrong here?