Passage of California’s Fair Pay to Play Act was arguably the biggest story of the week affecting college athletics, but you wouldn’t know that listening to the pregame shows on ESPN and Fox ($$).
Judging from social media and even national news programs, which devoted air to the development, the biggest story in college sports last week was California Gov. Gavin Newsom signing into law the “Fair Pay To Play Act.” SB 206, as it’s known on the books, is set to take effect in 2023 and would allow college athletes in the Golden State to strike endorsement deals and hire agents.
This may turn out to be the most revolutionary game-changing legislation in intercollegiate athletics since Title IX was passed, at the federal level, in 1972. And, with college football being far and away the greatest revenue-producing sport under the NCAA umbrella, you’d think quarterbacks and a few other teammates might stand to gain the most.
And given that ESPN devotes three hours and Fox one hour each Saturday morning to pregame football shows, you’d think — nope. Didn’t happen. Not on ESPN’s College GameDay nor Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff show. Not a moment of either program was spent on SB 206.
Which isn’t to say you wouldn’t have seen stars cashing in on endorsements…
This past Saturday morning, Herbie, Lee Corso, Rece Davis, Desmond Howard and Maria Taylor appeared in a commercial for Home Depot; Herbie, in addition, for Wheels Up; and Rece for Hampton by Hilton. You know what that looks like to us? It looks a lot like college football TV personalities striking endorsement deals and capitalizing on their image.
To be fair, Fox’s Rob Stone and Matt Leinart appeared in an ad for Wendy’s, their program’s sponsor, on Saturday.
Don’t want to bite the hand that feeds you, amirite?