The first California law on compensation for college athletes’ NIL rights hasn’t even gone into effect yet, and there’s a new bill being offered already. It’s totally bonkers.
Say hello to AB-609 — “The College Athlete Race and Gender Equity Act.”
It’s not merely groundbreaking. It prevents breaking ground, literally.
The bill requires California universities to pay football and men’s basketball players tens of millions of dollars in royalties for the use of their name, image and likeness.
One of the stipulations in AB-609 would bar universities from building athletic facilities (locker rooms, weight rooms, arenas, etc.) just to keep up with their peers.
Another stipulation would force universities to suspend athletic directors for three years if their departments fall out of compliance with Title IX.
Overall, AB-609 is a whopper — progressive to the point of radical, punitive to the point of debilitating and, in sections, deeply confusing.
And yes: It requires name, image and likeness payments from schools to athletes even though the NCAA has already approved NIL compensation for athletes from the private sector. (Implementation is awaiting oversight from Congress.)
“The bill is saying that NIL isn’t enough just going through the private industry,” said a source who has read AB-609, “so the schools that exceed the benchmarks cited in there would have to give that money back.”
To give you an idea of how off the wall this really is…
The ‘Fair Pay To Play’ law that takes effect in California in 2022 (if not sooner) doesn’t allow schools to compensate athletes directly for NIL. Instead, it prevents schools from interfering in payments to athletes from the private sector.
“That’s designed to keep the schools out of it,’’ the source said.
Nothing says progress like overriding landmark legislation.
Believe it or not, this is probably too much for California. But it’s a good example of the risk the NCAA is taking by stalling on athlete compensation. There’s always somebody more stubborn than you, Emmert.