Emmert Speaks Out Against NIL Bill, Wants Uniform Law Countrywide
NCAA President Mark Emmert said California's new law that would allow college athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness is "just a new form of professionalism and a different way of converting students into employees," according to Dana Hunsinger Benbow of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. Emmert acknowledged the law "would not be direct pay for play" but said that he "can see it 'pretty fast' morphing into that model." He said, "We simply can’t have a national athletic association in charge of national tournaments and national championships if each state creates its own ... law, You simply can’t do that. It doesn't make sense. It can't be done." Emmert: "When you have complete unfettered licensing agreements or unfettered endorsement deals, the model of college athletics is negligible at best and maybe doesn't even exist." Emmert noted there is "broad-based support for the things the NCAA is already doing" around the NIL issue. He added, "If a student athlete writes a book or produces a song, the rules today say that’s (not allowed). We have been routinely allowing them to receive compensations that are unrelated to sport." However, Emmert said, "The complete elimination of rules is not acceptable. You simply can’t have a successful athletic association when we don’t have any rules in place" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 10/4).
EXECUTIVE THOUGHT: ACC Commissioner John Swofford described himself as “open-minded” about athletes controlling their rights, as long as “we can find practical ways to address it that won't go down the slippery slope of negating amateurism and turning it into professionalism and pay-for-play." The NCAA has a working group studying the impact of NIL on the college model. Does the California law create more of a sense of urgency? “It does, and maybe that's the intention in reality,” Swofford said. It’s been reported that the NCAA’s working group will bring proposals and solutions to the Board of Governors meeting on Oct. 29. That’s not the case, sources said. That meeting will simply be an early progress report. Proposals are not expected to be part of that meeting (Michael Smith, SBJ College).
NCAA IN THE SPOTLIGHT: CBSSPORTS.com's Gary Parrish wrote public opinion has "shifted against the NCAA on this topic," but the "truth is that the NCAA has had decades to act and never budged significantly" (CBSSPORTS.com, 10/3). A TULSA WORLD editorial states that the NCAA's "stubborn position is in opposition to a free-market philosophy and common fairness." The leaders of America’s colleges and universities "need to find a solution that brings fairness to the players who attract the big dollars to their schools" (TULSA WORLD, 10/4). USA TODAY's John Hollis writes the NCAA has "had plenty of time to address the issue, only to intentionally drag its feet." California "just took the issue out of its hands, and the world of college sports will never be the same as a result" (USA TODAY, 10/4). In San Antonio, Mike Finger writes amateurism "doesn’t really make a sport more pure." All it does is "insure that the people profiting from it are the people who aren’t playing." Soon, "thanks to bills like California’s and those sure to follow, that discrepancy will shrink just a bit" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS- NEWS, 10/4).
SIGNING DAY: U.S. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), who played football at Ohio State, said he is aware "there's a rush" to implement new NIL rules but it is "important we get it right." Gonzalez said he thinks "there's movement" with the NCAA but it's a "big institution, like many of our institutions, and sometimes a little prodding can help." There could be a situation where "each state would have different laws and you would have players make decisions on where to go to school, not based upon what academic program makes sense, not based on what school makes sense for a variety of factors, but based on which state has the best regulatory environment for the player" ("OTL," ESPN, 10/3). ESPN's Jesse Palmer said there needs to be "federal legislation to make this consistent" because his "fear is that certain states will offer to pay players directly, other states will offer to set up funds for health care when the player is retired and now you have teenagers making decisions about where they're going to school not based on the education, not based on the football experience, but based on the dollars" ("College Football Countdown," ESPN, 10/3).