These two Tom Izzo quotes are a perfect encapsulation of why we can’t have nice things when it comes to the NCAA.
This shit’s been brewing for a decade and the NCAA has done nothing but delay the inevitable, because that’s how they roll. Just think what a little proactive thinking five years ago might have saved everyone.
And it’s not like things are likely to change any time soon. Here’s Gene Smith, giving a hint as to the not-so-new direction coming from the powers-that-be on player NLI rights:
“My concern with the California bill, which is all the way wide open, monetizing your name, image and likeness, is it moves slightly towards pay for play,” Smith told reporters on Tuesday. “It’s very difficult for us who are practitioners in this space to figure out, how do you regulate that? How do you ensure that the unscrupulous bad actor does not enter that space and ultimately create an un-level playing field?”
Ah, yes, Gene, please save them from that “unscrupulous bad actor”. There’s nothing more NCAA than running something from the do it for the kids playbook.
And lucky for Gene — he knows somebody in Congress who shares his concern.
“I actually think that we need to do something quickly, within the next year,” Gonzalez told ESPN. “I don’t think you have three years to figure this out. I think decisions will start happening immediately.”
He said he wants to create legislation that gives athletes the chance to make money while also setting up some way to protect athletes from what Gonzalez described as “bad actors.”
“There are a lot of people who are trying to get a piece of the athlete who do not have their best interest in mind and are out for nefarious means,” said Gonzalez, who was an All-Big Ten receiver at Ohio State before playing in the NFL for five years. “You can imagine a world where, if there were no guardrails in place, that it could get out of hand pretty quickly. That’s the lane you’re trying to carve. How do you do this to provide necessary and deserved benefits while not inviting a bigger problem alongside it?”
Gonzalez said he has had informal conversations on the subject with Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, the co-leader of a working group assembled by the NCAA to evaluate ways in which the association could change its rules on name, image and likeness rights.
That’s a relief. Who better to protect college athletes from being exploited than the very people who have specialized in doing so for years?