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Volume 26 No. 179
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AAC's Aresco Latest D-I Commish To Speak Out Against NIL Laws

Aresco said that NIL laws will have unintended consequences on college sports
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Aresco said that NIL laws will have unintended consequences on college sports
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Aresco said that NIL laws will have unintended consequences on college sports
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco said that he is concerned California's new law allowing college athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness, and others like it, would "create more problems for amateur athletics" than currently exist, according to Matt Murschel of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. Aresco said, "You can't have states basically trying to have a mishmash of laws dealing with what is a national undertaking. This is a national enterprise and it's got to be governed nationally by the NCAA office." Several other states have "begun the process of introducing similar legislation," including some within the AAC. Aresco: "There is such simplistic thinking about this and what it can mean. No one is forced to go to these schools and enjoy a full scholarship and all of the other benefits." He added that having NIL laws at the state level would "create unintended consequences that would make it difficult to regulate and police," and that this issue "shouldn't be left up to the states and the NCAA should strongly oppose the wave of legislation." More Aresco: "I don't think we've made our case well enough. I think we need to make it stronger" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 10/8).

COUNTRYWIDE INTEREST GROWING: In Hartford, Christopher Keating notes a Connecticut lawmaker believes the state "should follow suit" with California's NIL law. State Sen. Derek Slap said, "Connecticut also needs to look at this, if for no other reason than to remain competitive for recruitment." Keating notes among those who "support additional compensation for athletes are UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma and UConn football coach Randy Edsall." Auriemma earlier this year said that he "supported players getting paid, but 'it's somebody else's job to figure out how they're going to do that.'" U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) yesterday said that he is "considering introducing an 'athletes' bill of rights' at the federal level." Blumenthal said, "I support, very strongly, some kind of fair treatment of athletes -- financially and otherwise. They deserve broader kinds of safeguards against potential exploitation and unfair treatment" (HARTFORD COURANT, 10/8).

GONZAGA COACH SPEAKS OUT: Gonzaga men's basketball head coach Mark Few said that California's NIL law is a "publicity stunt by grandstanding politicians." Few said that the NCAA has been "working on a solution for a while." He added, "We were already on it. That doesn't seem to be written about much. We already had a committee working on it, and some really good people and some smart people, and I think they are going to announce some things in a little bit. It is the kind of the world we live in; everyone just lashes out early and everybody reacts." Few said that he supports "some sort of compensation plan, but there have to be logical safeguards in place." Few: "You have to take your time and look at the effect. You don't just enact things and go from there; that usually leads to a disaster" (Spokane SPOKESMAN-REVIEW, 10/7). Few said, "If there was a way we could monetize likeness and regulate it in a way to keep a fair playing field for everybody, then I'm all for it" (USA TODAY, 10/8).

OTHER THOUGHTS: Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott expressed concerns about California's NIL law, saying that it would "blur the lines between college athletics and professional sports." He also said that other states considering similar legislation would "create an unbalanced state-by-state approach to governing amateur sports." Scott: "If young people want to earn money from their name, image or likeness or get paid to play, they should have that opportunity. That's called pro sports. College sports is different. You go to get an education. It's amateur, they're students. Those are the defining characteristics and we'd like to see those lines not get blurred" (AP, 10/7). Sun Belt Commissioner Keith Gil said that he is "open to the idea of student-athletes earning outside wages, but it will require more research and understanding by all involved." Gill, who is in his first year as Commissioner, said, "The devil is in the details to provide any kind of benefit or opportunities to students. I do think they should be tied to education." He added, "You can certainly see where the trends are going, where the national conscience is, and so if we can help our students have more opportunities, then that's certainly something I'm supportive of" (WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL, 10/5). Utah State AD John Hartwell said, "It absolutely jeopardizes the amateur model and the collegiate model on a lot of fronts. We can't bury our heads in the sand" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 10/6).

REALLY THAT BAD? In Raleigh, Luke DeCock writes the "sky is always falling" when it comes to the NCAA. Freshman eligibility was "going to destroy college athletics." Title IX was going to "bankrupt college athletics." Cost of attendance was "going to commercialize college athletics." Letting athletes "capitalize on their name, image and likeness" will do "all of those things and more to this quaint little billion-dollar cottage industry, depending on which sanctimonious hypocrite has your ear." However, no one in college athletics is "going to lose a dime of their ill-gotten lucre" when the law takes effect. Some athletes "might get a cut of any jerseys sold with their name or number on it, but that's going to be a very limited number of football and basketball superstars." The NCAA "really missed the boat on this." It should have been "out ahead of this long ago." Of all the "many and varied issues threatening the NCAA cartel, name, image and likeness rights will be the easiest to resolve: Let the athletes control them, like any other student" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 10/8).

COLUMNISTS SUPPORT: In Chicago, Rick Telander wrote California's NIL law "helps us all." Telander: "No more will we have to stutter and babble when asked why it is that Johnny Star Point Guard makes zero income while his coach ... is paid millions. ... No more will we have to wonder why said coach can do all the TV commercials ... and the star athlete cannot." This "limiting of what a big-time sports performer could make always has been wrong" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 10/6). In Detroit, Mitch Albom wrote "determining fair pay for student athletes is beyond moaning about rip-offs." It is "beyond sticking it to the greedy, outdated NCAA, for whom nobody should have sympathy." It is about "fairness to every athlete, not just the stars." It is about "weighing the devil who'll come versus the devil you know." However, it is "not that simple" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 10/7).