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Volume 26 No. 181
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Gavin Newsom Says California Wanted To "Force" NCAA's Hand

SB 206 is written in such a way that it can be amended before '23 if the NCAA comes up with a plan of its own
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
SB 206 is written in such a way that it can be amended before '23 if the NCAA comes up with a plan of its own
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
SB 206 is written in such a way that it can be amended before '23 if the NCAA comes up with a plan of its own
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

California officials behind SB 206 reportedly were "skeptical" that the NCAA would adopt substantive changes from the working group currently examining the name, image and likeness issue, leading the state to "press ahead with their legislation," according to Alan Blinder of the N.Y. TIMES. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said, "People said, 'You know what, we've got to force their hands.' They're not going to do the right thing on their own. They only do the right thing when they're sued or they're forced to do the right thing." California state Sen. Brian Jones said, "Let's prod them a little bit and see what happens." Blinder notes the legislation "left open the possibility that California could rework its approach once the NCAA's plans are made public" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/1). Newsom: "Ultimately, this is going to force their hand. I think invariably, they're going to have (to) make some significant concessions to the status quo ... and while the threat of litigation may overhang, I think reforms are going to be forthcoming despite how stubborn the next year or two may be" (USA TODAY, 10/1).

NOT SET IN STONE: The AP's Tim Dahlberg notes SB 206 does not take effect until '23 and is "written in such a way that it can be amended before then if the NCAA comes up with a proper plan of its own to allow some form of player compensation" (AP, 10/1). In DC, Hobson & Strauss agree there are "reasons to be pessimistic this bill will be implemented in 2023 as written" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/1). YAHOO SPORTS' Dan Wetzel writes, "The NCAA's recent success at beating back challengers in federal court may mean that SB 206 never survives." The NCAA "may be forced into its own plan, which may prove better than the one politicians drew up" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 9/30). USA TODAY's Dan Wolken writes, "If done correctly, the NCAA could set up a system for name, image and likeness rights that -- from a fans' point of view -- doesn't necessarily change much at all." If the NCAA is "smart, it will do that proactively rather than wait for more states to adopt similar bills" (USA TODAY, 10/1). ABC's T.J. Holmes notes the California bill is "essentially giving the NCAA time to get (their) act together" ("GMA," ABC, 10/1).

MONUMENTAL DECISION: In Tucson, Greg Hansen writes, "Over the next two or three years, the presidents and chancellors of America's leading athletic institutions will surely move into the 21st century and give student-athletes unprecedented economic rights." The regulation of those economic rights "will be the tricky part." Hansen: "The NCAA amateurism model is about to go under water" (ARIZONA DAILY STAR, 10/1). In Austin, Kirk Bohls notes the NCAA said it would make "adjustments" to its rules, but it has been "so morally bankrupt on player benefits for so long that it ought to get ahead of this controversy and back this issue instead of fighting it and dragging it out through the legal system" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 10/1). In San Jose, Jon Wilner writes SB 206 "stands in stark, come-and-get-us-if-you-dare contrast to the NCAA's longstanding model that treats athletes as indentured servants ... sorry, as unpaid amateurs" (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 10/1). But in San Diego, Mark Zeigler writes what California officials just did was "mess with the fragile ecosystem of intercollegiate athletics." Zeigler: "What they just did was pump ozone into the atmosphere" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 10/1).

TIME TO CASH IN: In Austin, Cedric Golden writes schools for years "have profited off the images and likeness of their athletes without having to share those sizable greenbacks." Golden: "Why should they not share in the fruits of their labors?" If Texas QB Sam Ehlinger "wants to endorse Skittles, he should be able to taste the rainbow and any dollars that may find their way to his pocket" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 10/1). Audience Network's Rich Eisen: "I would imagine every single state in the SEC would love to start telling their players, 'Hey, come to my car dealership. I can actually pay you to start selling cars for me'" ("The Rich Eisen Show," Audience Network, 9/30). NBC's Savannah Guthrie said, "If you're a really huge superstar and there's a company that wants to pay you -- I mean, kind of like, 'Welcome to life'" ("Today," NBC, 10/1). ESPN's Scott Van Pelt: "It's simply an application of common sense. Why should athletes be the only people on campus restricted in the matter in which the NCAA restricts them?" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 10/1). SI.com's Michael Rosenberg wrote, "It seems completely just, doesn't it? Nobody stops English majors from selling novels or music majors from putting their names on concert t-shirts" (SI.com, 9/30).

A CHANGE IS GONNA COME: The AP's Dahlberg notes Newsom "starts the clock ticking on what may be a monumental change in big time college athletics." This is a "big step toward fairness in a system that's in desperate need of change." Dahlberg: "Maybe the biggest step ever" (AP, 10/1). In L.A., Bill Plaschke in a front-page piece writes SB 206 "revs up the bulldozer that could finally level the playing field in America's most unjust athletic system." There is "no way of predicting how this will all look in three years." But "no matter what eventually happens, something concrete has finally happened, something big and bold and transformative" (L.A. TIMES, 10/1).