Conferences, Schools React With Caution To California NIL Bill
The signing of California SB 206, which will allow college athletes to profit off their name, images and likeness, prompted immediate reaction from conference and school leaders in the state and across the country. The Pac-12 responded with a statement saying it believes the bill will have "very significant negative consequences for our student-athletes and broader universities in California." The statement said, "This legislation will lead to the professionalization of college sports and many unintended consequences related to this professionalism ... and will likely reduce resources and opportunities for student-athletes in Olympic sports and have a negative disparate impact on female student-athletes" (Pac-12).
OTHER POWER 5 CONFERENCES: Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby in a statement said, "This bill creates great instability for the intercollegiate athletics programs at universities in California." He added, "The passage of SB206 will negatively impact the universities in California and will undermine the unique American collegiate model that has been an enormous source of opportunity for millions of young student-athletes and many millions of fans" (Ft. Worth STAR-TELEGRAM, 10/1). SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey in a statement said, "There is meaningful concern related to the inherent consequences that will inevitably arise when individual states unilaterally alter a set of rules that currently apply to student-athletes and universities throughout the country. ... We must also fully address the underlying potential for abuse by external influences and strive for a structure that appropriately ties financial support of student-athletes to their educational pursuits" (SI.com, 9/30).
SCHOOL OF THOUGHT: San Diego State AD John David Wicker said, "The State of California created a bill that's very open-ended, and now it's on the NCAA to go fill in all the different areas to try to make something work. Because it can't just work in California; it has to work in all 50 states. They've gone out and created a law that puts us in direct conflict with the NCAA and its rules, which stands to impact our student-athletes negatively" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 10/1). Gonzaga AD Mike Roth said he "sees this can with all kinds of worms emerging from it." He added, "Once we go down this path of NIL, my fear is we're professionalizing it and I really have a fear that professionalization will destroy college athletics. ... My fear is schools that are willing to push the envelope will continue to do so and this way have a very clear and easy way to do it" (Spokane SPOKESMAN-REVIEW, 10/1). Cal State-Long Beach AD Andy Fee: "Do we create a new world that essentially blows up amateurism as we know it?" ("Evening News," CBS, 9/30). Pepperdine AD Steve Potts said, "I just don't want to put our student athletes in a position where they're not allowed to compete at the highest level" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/1).
IMPACT ON WOMEN'S SPORTS: Nebraska volleyball coach John Cook said, "Nobody worries about women's sports on this, it's all about the men's, but I think for them it's gonna create chaos, and it's gonna be really hard to police. We'll probably have to triple our compliance office, and I just think it's gonna open a can of worms" (OMAHA WORLD-HERALD, 10/1).