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Volume 26 No. 181
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Mark Emmert: Fair Pay To Play An "Existential Threat" To NCAA Model

Emmert said the current debate over student-athletes' NIL rights has been single biggest issue in his tenure
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Emmert said the current debate over student-athletes' NIL rights has been single biggest issue in his tenure
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Emmert said the current debate over student-athletes' NIL rights has been single biggest issue in his tenure
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

NCAA President Mark Emmert said granting college athletes the right to make money off their own name, image and likeness would be an "existential threat" to the collegiate model, according to Dennis Dodd of CBSSPORTS.com. While speaking to a group of D-I ADs on Tuesday, Emmert called the current debate over NIL rights the "single biggest issue" in his almost-decade on the job. California Gov. Gavin Newsom is "expected to sign into law the Fair Pay to Play Act," a bill that would grant athletes in that state the ability to profit off their NIL. The NCAA earlier this month sent a letter to California legislators expressing its opposition to the bill, and some of them have "responded sternly." California state Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove said, "NCAA, don't threaten California." However, Emmert said the "whole notion that our letter was threatening is ridiculous." Emmert: "We simply said, 'Here is one of the problems that will exist.' That wasn't a threat. It was, 'Look, folks, we can't have one state operating different rules than the others.'" If Newsom signs the bill, Emmert said that he "would like to see California officials 'tone down some of the rhetoric.'" Meanwhile, Emmert was asked if the NCAA "could become a partner with players in marketing" their NIL. He replied, "You've got 50 different states with 50 different labor law rules. If you move into what are, in essence, labor negotiations, you have to do that state-by-state. ... It just falls apart in its complexity" (CBSSPORTS.com, 9/25).

NO PROBLEMS HERE: In Orlando, David Whitley wrote he is "all for" the Fair Pay to Play Act because he is a "fan of capitalism and people being free to earn what the market says they're worth." If a booster "buys a pizza shop and pays a quarterback $25,000 to endorse pepperoni calzones, it won't be cheating." It will be the "free market at work." All Fair Pay to Play acts do is "give laborers the economic freedom everybody else enjoys" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 9/25).

MAKING HIS MARK: In L.A., Nathan Fenno notes National College Players Association Exec Dir Ramogi Huma has taken a "two-and-a-half decade journey to become one of the leading advocates of reforming the multi-billion dollar college sports industry." Huma is now "on the verge of his biggest victory" after the California Legislature passed the Fair Pay to Play Act earlier this month. Huma said, "This bill is a freight train. Out of all the different avenues over all the years, I think this is the most promising" (L.A. TIMES, 9/26).