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Fair Pay To Play Act in California

Creebuzz

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I hadn’t seen a lot of discussion on this topic, but the Fair Pay to Play Act has mostly wound its way through the California legislature and is in reconciliation before it is expected to land on the governor’s desk for signing into law.

For those not familiar with the law, it effectively addresses many of the claims in the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit saying that amateur athletes are not compensated for the use of the likeness in such things as video games. The law would effectively eliminate the prohibition of college athletes in California from using their likeness, personality, etc. in a for-profit manner. The upshot is that it would allow athletes to get paid for being in video games, for pitching products on local TV, signing autographs for money, and so on.

As you can imagine, the colleges in California are opposed since they would face a choice of complying with California law or complying with NCAA membership rules. Of course, they will ultimately comply with the law. If the law passes, the NCAA has suggested that California schools could be bounced from the NCAA altogether as having an unfair competitive advantage.

Similar laws have been introduced in Colorado as well as some other Pac 12 states. The California law does not take effect for three years to allow the NCAA to figure it out and address unintended consequences.

The further upshot is this could go a lot of interesting ways: it could mean California schools just form their own league, the Pac 12 just breaks away from the NCAA, the entire nation starts adopting similar laws and boosters in Alabama start paying star recruits $100,000 to push Ford’s at the local dealership. It’s pretty fascinating how all this will play out.

Below is an SI article on it.

 

Shldr2Shldr

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I didn't think it was illegal in any state for a college athlete to profit from their likeness. I thought this was always an NCAA policy, and if that is the case, does this law actually change anything?
 

DBT

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I didn't think it was illegal in any state for a college athlete to profit from their likeness. I thought this was always an NCAA policy, and if that is the case, does this law actually change anything?
I think it would allow a player to sue its school citing California law if the school tries to conform to NCAA regulations. Maybe.
 

BerkeleyBuff

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I think if allowing athletes to be paid for such things ever becomes the norm, we're screwed, and college football will increasingly revolve around about two dozen teams or less.
 

CarolinaBuff

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I think if allowing athletes to be paid for such things ever becomes the norm, we're screwed, and college football will increasingly revolve around about two dozen teams or less.
Probably true with all the big money surrounding the upper tier programs, unless they do something like put a cap on how much an individual athlete can make off this likeness.
 

DBT

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I think if allowing athletes to be paid for such things ever becomes the norm, we're screwed, and college football will increasingly revolve around about two dozen teams or less.
A recruiting tactic would be to put a recruits likeness on a tee shirt and tell them, “I guarantee ya’ we will sell 10,000 of these for $10 a pop!”
 

Creebuzz

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I didn't think it was illegal in any state for a college athlete to profit from their likeness. I thought this was always an NCAA policy, and if that is the case, does this law actually change anything?
Yes, not illegal. That’s just bad journalism on my part. What the law does I think is forces the colleges in California to allow/back the players even though it would be against NCAA member rules. So, if JT Daniels for example wanted to go pitch mustache wax on TV, USC would have to say go ahead, enjoy, without penalty or repercussion from them. It pits California and the NCAA in a direct battle. And California usually wins these things because they are the big swinging **** in any room.
 

Creebuzz

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Schools paying players is probably fiscally impossible to do considering all the sports each university has. Allowing them to profit off their likeness is what needs to happen and it doesn’t put near the burden on schools.
I think it’s the correct way to do things from a capitalistic and perhaps even an ethical standpoint. Why shouldn’t someone profit off their own likeness? A person on academic scholarship has no restrictions, right? So, I’m with you.

But, I see the issues down the road. The top recruits are going to negotiate advertising deals with local boosters before signing with a school. Laviska Shenault brought to you by Avery Beer. Under recruited but breakout players may transfer to ink a lucrative endorsement deal elsewhere. Boy, we really could use a DT now, let’s have a booster offer a $100,000 advertising deal for his 14 regional Chik-Fil-As and then he can enter the grad transfer portal. But wait, local boosters at that school counteroffers $150,000 to pitch his insurance agency. What a mess it would be.
 

Ralfie

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I’m with @DBT and @BerkeleyBuff.

Bad idea. Their compensation is free tuition and room & board. With is like $60k a year for many, as many are out of state recruits. That’s a quarter million dollars of benefit, plus a degree, which is worth a lot of increased earning power for those (majority) of college players who don’t go on to the pros. Plus a person who led a big high pressure team and has that experience has additional appeal to employers over some other dude with the same degree, in almost any field.

Heck, Bobby Pesavento is selling insurance or something somewhere in Colorado last I heard, and he was my quarterback back when I was in school. And I bet he’s happy, providing for his wife and kids...still an avid Buff fan/supporter according to his Twitter page. Still a hero of mine, I would LOVE to grab a beer with that guy and watch a Buffs game, or heck buy insurance from him. That’s the inherent benefit to the majority of college players, they aren’t “owed” money for being part of a college football program’s history/success.
 

Bill Cody

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I didn't think it was illegal in any state for a college athlete to profit from their likeness. I thought this was always an NCAA policy, and if that is the case, does this law actually change anything?
I think everyone is focusing on the wrong aspect of this bill. I don't think it will change anything related to players being able make money on the side...because they will still be in violation of NCAA rules, and I'm pretty sure most players will not want to risk eligibility for a few bucks.

IMO, the real teeth in this law is that for profit endeavors will no longer be able to profit off the likeness of the student athlete without fair compensation. That is going to totally **** with existing sources of cashflow. Think about how leagues and institutions are going to have to turn away royalties from video games, merchandise, and the real grey area.....TV contracts. They will open themselves up to a lawsuit if they don't change something significantly.
 

Alfred91

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I think CA is actually overestimating their ability here to dictate to the rest of the nation.

CA can usually overpower the rest of the nation because of their economic power. If CA sets higher pollution standards on cars, for example, the car manufacturers sell more cars in CA than anywhere else, it's too costly to build the same car with two different emissions systems, so viola, CA wins.

Right now, however, the college athletics landscape does not revolve around CA at all. If the NCAA member schools from the rest of the 49 states say, 'we're not doing it', the CA schools might be ****ed. Which would probably mean the rest of the Pac-12 would be ****ed. Awesome.
 

Big Jim

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Everyone wanted playoffs and now expanded playoffs. More money for schools, NCAA and corporates. This is an unintended consequence and CA will only be the vanguard, not the lone wolf.
 

Denver_sc

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I’m with @DBT and @BerkeleyBuff.

Bad idea. Their compensation is free tuition and room & board. With is like $60k a year for many, as many are out of state recruits. That’s a quarter million dollars of benefit, plus a degree, which is worth a lot of increased earning power for those (majority) of college players who don’t go on to the pros. Plus a person who led a big high pressure team and has that experience has additional appeal to employers over some other dude with the same degree, in almost any field.

Heck, Bobby Pesavento is selling insurance or something somewhere in Colorado last I heard, and he was my quarterback back when I was in school. And I bet he’s happy, providing for his wife and kids...still an avid Buff fan/supporter according to his Twitter page. Still a hero of mine, I would LOVE to grab a beer with that guy and watch a Buffs game, or heck buy insurance from him. That’s the inherent benefit to the majority of college players, they aren’t “owed” money for being part of a college football program’s history/success.
For one thing, out of state tuition at CU is like under $40K according to the recent USNews and World Report Rankings so your $60K number is likely accurate, but for in state students the benefit is probably more like $40K/year. And there are schools that charge less than CU- for example, USF (who's ranked) has tuition less than $7K/year, so the benefit is probably under $30K/year.

For another, paying someone in services that essentially cost you nothing (and I know that the AD "pays" the school for scholarship athletes) is an easy way to artificially inflate what someone is actually being compensated. The student athlete can't go spend that "$60K" somewhere else.

This law also doesn't set up to cost the schools anything- it just enables players to make money off of their likeness.

Finally, it's a canard that this will have any meaningful impact on competitive play, or that it will reduce the field of viable national championship competitors. Since the inception of a true championship game (1998), there have been 16 different teams that have played in it. If you expand that to include the semifinal playoff games, we're still talking only 19 teams. That's out of 52 slots (2 each year for 16 years of the BCS and 4 each year for the playoff). Out of those 19 teams, 5 (VT, ****braska, Washington, Tennessee, and Michigan State) appeared only once- so 14 teams have accounted for 47 of the "slots" in either a championship game or semifinal since 1998. In other words, we're already well past the Rubicon in terms of only "a couple of dozen teams" mattering.

You'd be (rightly) furious if your employer told you that "your health insurance is a massive benefit" and paid you far less than market rate for your services, and prevented you from moonlighting elsewhere. You'd find a different job.
 

BerkeleyBuff

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So? It already is.
So.... with a greater divide, there would be even less ability for the lesser programs to break through/ keep pace/ attract the best athletes long-term, much akin to the growing divide between the P5 and G5 now....
 

L Buff

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Heck, Bobby Pesavento is selling insurance or something somewhere in Colorado last I heard, and he was my quarterback back when I was in school. And I bet he’s happy, providing for his wife and kids...still an avid Buff fan/supporter according to his Twitter page. Still a hero of mine, I would LOVE to grab a beer with that guy and watch a Buffs game, or heck buy insurance from him. That’s the inherent benefit to the majority of college players, they aren’t “owed” money for being part of a college football program’s history/success.

I got to buy Pez a beer at the Blake Street Tavern in 2010 and tell him how he was a huge part to what was then my best moment as a Buff. Unfortunately the game were watching that day was the last time we played the nubs in the Big 12 and lost to them ... but that particular mental scar has now been forever erased!
 

MtnBuff

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So.... with a greater divide, there would be even less ability for the lesser programs to break through/ keep pace/ attract the best athletes long-term, much akin to the growing divide between the P5 and G5 now....
If, and that is a different but worthy question, college football were to survive California actually doing and following through on this and the rest of the nation capitulating then yes you are right the divide would get much larger.

One of the consequences to this would mean that many schools would be forced to de-emphasize or eliminate football. We already clearly know that football drives athletic department budgets. The result would be that with many schools cutting budgets we could expect to see corresponding cuts in non-revenue programs and significant cuts in scholarships for those athletes including in women's programs.
 

L Buff

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This whole issue reminds me of the Jeremy Bloom case, wherein he was barred by the NCAA from being compensated for endorsing skiing equipment based on his Olympic performance, and which had nothing to do with his CFB career at CU. It's a huge gray area.
 

MtnBuff

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This whole issue reminds me of the Jeremy Bloom case, wherein he was barred by the NCAA from being compensated for endorsing skiing equipment based on his Olympic performance, and which had nothing to do with his CFB career at CU. It's a huge gray area.
This is a whole different issue but a good point.

The NCAA regulates players having jobs outside of school but allows a guy like Kyler Murray to make millions in baseball and still play football but not allow a guy in an individual sport like Jeremy Bloom earn endorsement money for his sport.

Makes very little sense.
 

SuperD

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Isn't Rick George assigned to the committee that is evaluating this issue for the NCAA?
 

Creebuzz

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The schools would be the biggest losers. Instead of the funneling money into the AD through charitable donations, boosters would pay players directly for marketing services and write it off as an operating expense in their business. The student athlete would no longer care that much about the fancy facilities since they can just rent a sweet pad with their own cash.

If I’m Phil Knight why can’t I pay every single player $100,000 per year for marketing? Why even have scholarship limits anymore? Phil Knight will pay your full cost of attendance and more for marketing services rendered. Doubt it goes that way, but interesting to speculate how a billionaire could basically just buy the best team, assuming money would be a players primary concern.
 

Bill Cody

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I think CA is actually overestimating their ability here to dictate to the rest of the nation.

CA can usually overpower the rest of the nation because of their economic power. If CA sets higher pollution standards on cars, for example, the car manufacturers sell more cars in CA than anywhere else, it's too costly to build the same car with two different emissions systems, so viola, CA wins.

Right now, however, the college athletics landscape does not revolve around CA at all. If the NCAA member schools from the rest of the 49 states say, 'we're not doing it', the CA schools might be ****ed. Which would probably mean the rest of the Pac-12 would be ****ed. Awesome.
Again, I think people are focusing too much on what the student athletes will or will not be allowed to do. You have to look at this from the other direction. What industries profit the most on College Football? Entertainment

The entertainment hub of the world is LA/Hollywood. That's where this all becomes very interesting. If this law passes, they are going to either have to change the rules significantly, or open themselves up to a massive lawsuit.
 

MtnBuff

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I don't think even the SEC wants to get into this kind of an arms race.

I could see the NCAA cutting the California Schools out. In the grand scheme of things college football is one product that California doesn't dominate demand for.

We have already seen the PAC12 effectively removed from the NC playoff picture multiple years.
 

Bill Cody

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I don't think even the SEC wants to get into this kind of an arms race.

I could see the NCAA cutting the California Schools out. In the grand scheme of things college football is one product that California doesn't dominate demand for.

We have already seen the PAC12 effectively removed from the NC playoff picture multiple years.
Even if the NCAA cut out the Cali Schools, do you really believe that some big swinging dick attorney isn't going to take the chance to go after the networks for profiting on the likeness of college football players? Like it or not, an easy case can be made that CFB is popular because of its stars. Disney (ESPN) and Fox are both headquartered in CA....thereby making their business (questionably) illegal.
 
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