Extra Points
News and commentary from around the Web

What California Bill Means for NCAA

This ESPN article is a good primer for California's Fair Pay To Play Act, which will allow college athletes in that state to collect money from endorsement deals without fear of losing their NCAA eligibility or scholarships starting in 2023. The act was signed into law on Monday, and several other states are looking to follow suit. United States representative Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), a star wide receiver at Ohio State who also played several seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, has proposed a national version of the law. 

View Full Article

Comments

38 comments, Last at 06 Oct 2019, 1:03pm

1 I wonder, when…

I wonder, when Representative Gonzalez verbally stumbles while giving a speech from the House floor, does a five-headed fellow in the gallery stand up and shout, "GODDAMNIT, ANTHONY, PAY ATTENTION!!!"

2 All I can say is this is…

All I can say is this is only a step in the right direction. College football players remain a mostly free labor pool for a billion dollar business masquerading as a collegiate activity.

I was also very very tempted to give a lengthy response to the political jab above, but will only respond with, "I wish political discourse was more civil and open minded than it is in today's America."

3 If the cartel creeps at the…

If the cartel creeps at the NCAA and Power 5 were smart, they'd try to get ahead of this and encourage college football players to organize, so that there would be a single entity to bargain with. The alternative is the real possibility that what has been obvious for decades, that college football as it now exists violates antitrust law, gets legally recognized. They are pretty lucky it hasn't happened yet, and the parasites in the NCAA and conference headquarters will be able to protect their rice bowls better if they have a union to bargain with.

24 Pricing Cartels & Free Markets

It's interesting - I for one sincerely hope college athletes resist unionization and simply use existing law to attack the restraint of trade presently occurring. Union contracts exempt employers from many of the protections that non-unionized workers enjoy and cannot bargain away in an ordinary employment contract (e.g. the right to sue your employer for suspending you for maybe, possibly, somehow instructing ball boys to deflate footballs). I for one look forward to a state court hearing the $20,000,000 lawsuit from some random college football player against the league for wrongly suspending him for targeting - leveraging the actual text of the college football rulebook because that's what you do when your suspended from work in contravention of your employers own policies - it will be one of those great "only in America" moments that we can all collectively treasure.

** full disclosure I watch ~1 collage football game a year and think the American obsession with it is somewhat odd, kind of like the obsession with the IIHF Hockey world junior tournament here in Canada **

36 I completely disagree with…

I completely disagree with you on the issue of unionization. There are a lot of merits to unionize the college players. Unions historically have done a lot better representing lower class workers compared to those workers not in unions. Unions could ensure facilities are safe. They could ensure athletes are able to retain their scholarships should they become injured, even if they need to leave the school due to complications from injuries or other reasons; currently, athletes aren't always covered when they are injured in relation to their sport. They could negotiate for making sure student-athletes have time for their studies. They could make sure there is a minimum salary for all athletes, possibly to include some walk-ons. They can also supply legal assistance, if needed, when looking at endorsements and other outside income; not all those endorsements will be for big bucks (like the Venice gym example mentioned here). These are examples of why business owners almost universally fight unionization of workplaces; here, it's the NCAA does not want to lose any of this control. 

I think your argument about a student being wrongly suspended and suing is ridiculous. First, how often is a student wrongly suspended? It's rare and could be handled before it hits a lawsuit. Besides, how often does this happen now when they already don't have a union. I don't recall any lawsuits in college about this before, so I doubt it will be a serious problem. Second, the union could negotiate that the student still gets paid during his suspension so as to not disadvantage poorer students. Paid suspensions aren't uncommon as we often see them when a police officer is involved in a shooting (even obviously legitimate ones). Most larger police departments have unions which would provide a blueprint for that language. Your argument sounds more like you don't like unions rather than any concern for how much it might help the student-athletes. 

The only way I see unions being bad for the players if the NCAA refuses to bargain in good faith and the union caves. Congressional oversight may be needed due to anti-trust concerns (something I doubt anyone on either side of the political aisle wants). 

4 Folks, this is a football…

Folks, this is a football story, but it's also a political story, so we need to bend our "no politics" rule to allow any discussion on it. But off-topic political commentary will be deleted. Thank you.

5 Must be done at federal level...

It will be interesting to see what happens if this isn't passed at a federal level. If student-athletes have to choose between going to school in CA and making bank or going to school in TX and not getting paid, then all the talent will end up in states where student-athletes are allowed to make money.

6 Blake Bortles has a better…

Blake Bortles has a better chance of winning the MVP award this year than Texas politicians have of allowing California universities to purchase the services of Texas high school players on an uncontested basis.

However, there is no doubt that USC's and UCLA's proximity to center of the entertainment industry would give them advantages over other schools, with regard to high school athletes who have sophisticated representation. The most highly touted high school players may as well start building their personal brand at age 18, and being in close proximity to Los Angelos aids that effort.

10 I don't know how impactful…

I don't know how impactful this will ultimately be simply as is. The only positions that sell jerseys are usually skill players like QB, Running Back, and maybe Receivers? And those teams have a fixed number of starters.

Its a symbolic victory of sorts, but California is an uber liberal state. I see it as an outlier that will take a long time for other states to follow suit.

11 IDK either but it was passed…

IDK either but it was passed unanimously and they do have one or two Republicans in the CA State House. I hope it results in some reform and benefits for the players, if they can afford to pay the head coach $8m they can pay the players $50k-$100k.

12 I can guarantee that plenty…

I can guarantee that plenty of California car dealerships, restaurants, memorabilia stores, sporting goods stores, hell, auto detailing shops, sports radio stations, etc., will be happy to pay many thousands of dollars for endorsement deals and appearance fees to college athletes. No state with a big time program is going to cede that advantage to California programs.

(edit) For example, if this law goes fully into effect, it'll take about 5 minutes for the Venice Beach Gold's Gym to pay USC's starting offensive line 10k apiece every year for endorsement and appearance fees.

13 How much revenue does…

How much revenue does college football generate annually? I think the NFL was around $8 Billion, with roughly half of that going to player salaries. I assume college football must be in the multi-billion range. So my question is: where is that $1 Billion-plus in potential player share for college football currently going? Are there individuals that are pocketing this money? Or does it just go to the schools to fund their ever-expanding practice facilities? I know there are some coaches that are getting multi-million dollar salaries, but but that should only be a fraction of the revenue.

So if colleges are ever to start paying for players directly (California's proposal still does not allow for this, I believe), whose pocket is that money coming from?

19 Total up the NCAA and the…

Total up the NCAA and the Power 5 administrative staff, and you have massively more well paid bureaucrats than are actually needed to run the business. Most of the revenues get funneled back to the schools, pretty much 70ish more temples to administrative bloat. Then you have the undeniable fact that the bodies of the football and basketball playets fund the athletic experience for the players in all the other sports

I have no painless alternative to this status quo. I'd just like to see antitrust law apply to everybody in this country.

 

 

 

23 I think this is spot on and…

I think this is spot on and it if I may add, it happens in the medical field as well. The awful costs of American Health care is partially explained by a massive administrative bloat and waste. And because people involved have become so entrenched(not just at the top, but everybody from human resources on down) and stand to lose big - there will be heavy resistance to stop it. And rather than be up front about it, they throw up moralistic arguments. Players are here for an education and sports is merely a civic service in honor of the University.

I feel sad in a way because so many intelligent people get duped into thinking that these athletes are being given a gift to be allowed to play collegiate sports where they get "free" housing, food, and education without having to the onerous admissions process.  

Quite the contrary, as the Friday night lights book lays bare, most of these kids aren't qualified to get into the college in the first place, how can they be expected to learn anything once they are there. And in that way I don't blame them, football is practically a full time job, how can anyone be expected to reasonably juggle a full course load and football?

The status quo remains until people start becoming better educated to reality and economic literacy. Unfortunately, I see the opposite happening. 

28 "Student Athlete" has been a…

"Student Athlete" has been a joke in major college sports since I was in college in the late 1970s - I went to Kentucky so got to see a major basketball factory up close & personal.  And of course after the North Carolina case where the NCAA was ruled to have no say in academic fraud cases 'student' and 'athlete' are now completely divorced concepts for the sports that generate major $/ have realistic professional opportunities.  As an example the University of Arizona now has classes for which the only people who are eligible to register are scholarship athletes. 

The flip side of this is that anyone who actually *wants* an education and is in a revenue sport is hosed.  If they do manage to get the education they want, it's in spite of the scholarship instead of because of it.

29 One I love is that the PAC…

One I love is that the PAC-12 has its offices in shiny new digs it built in *San Francisco*.   I guess they figured paying SF real estate prices creates prestige.   And strangely enough the SEC has been in the same building for 50 years - of course that gives them more money to feather their nests...

15 According to Forbes the top…

According to Forbes the top 25  programs had revenues of $2.7b and profits of $1.5b and in 2109 Clemson’s football team set program records for spending on coach salaries ($14 million). 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/chrissmith/2019/09/12/college-football-most-valuable-clemson-texas-am

20 It's way too late now but…

It's way too late now but serious competitive sports should never have been mixed up with higher education in the first place. They don't have anything to do with each other. In an ideal world there would be no college sports outside of intramurals.

21 Amen. I await the day when…

Amen. I await the day when the NBA-style G-League model takes over major American sports, and all promising athletes are able to earn salaries prior to joining the major leagues, rather than having to pretend to pursue sociology degrees for a year prior to going pro. In the meantime, allowing endorsement deals is a huge step in the right direction. Lord knows how many millions Manziel/Watson/Winston/etc. could have made in their days!

31 You know, an interesting by…

You know, an interesting by-product is that it could help star athletes stay in school longer.  Maybe Manziel comes back for his Junior (and Senior) season if a bunch of local businesses are paying him to do commercials.  A guy like Manziel, who becomes a superstar early in college might have the potential to earn $1M+ in endorsements while still in school.  That might make you a little more interested to stick around and try to win a championship, or a second Heisman, etc.

34 It's possible, though I…

It's possible, though I imagine that anyone who could earn that much in college endorsements would earn magnitudes more in the pros, so there would still be incentive to leave early. Then again, more time developing in college could reduce the chance of a Manziellian flameout upon reaching the NFL, so maybe more guys would stay.

It's hard to predict exactly what the effects will be. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

22 Not to violate the Prime…

Not to violate the Prime Directive, but the notion of sports being a proper use of taxpayer money- whether in the form of massive subsidies of stadiums, or the Sabans of the world earning millions per year while athletes are sanctioned for selling autographs- is... dubious.

26 If the athletes can steal…

If the athletes can steal some endorsement money from the overpaid coaches and reduce the influence of corrupt "boosters", I'm behind it. Probably wishful thinking. A lot of these students are probably getting fistfuls of money under the table anyway, either directly or funneled through family.

Complications: the athletes will have to pay taxes on endorsement fees. Also wonder what happens to the scholarships... keep them or only give them to truly deserving student athletes?

37 My favorite benefit is it…

My favorite benefit is it should eliminate most under-the-table payments from the boosters. Boosters will simply make them endorsement deals. No need to explain that new Norman Ford Mustang outside the dorm or Cancun spring break vacation from Columbus Travel. SEC and Texas schools (among others) will be relieved. It may also level the recruiting field as a prime recruit may prefer to go to a school where he's more likely to start as a freshman or sophomore and get an endorsement deal rather than sit on the bench for two years at Alabama or Clemson.

The real benefit with booster money augmenting paying salaries to athletes is that it gives the NCAA some legitimacy to keep salaries down so other sports can continue to be funded. While some other sports besides football and men's basketball generate money (e.g., UConn women's basketball and Wisconsin hockey), most will be just on scholarships. If students in money-generating sports can make $15-20/hour with a max per school of X dollars like a salary cap, it should still mostly level the playing field.