Rep. McGhee’s bill to allow college athletes to profit from their fame gets Gov DeSantis’ endorsement. It prohibits enforcement of NCAA ban James Call, Democrat Capitol Reporter
Kudos to the NCAA.
I applaud their bullet points, light on details as they were, that came out Tuesday that suggest college athletes will be paid for their name, image and likeness in the future.
Hopefully sometime soon.
But it’s hard to celebrate too much. Not yet.
They didn't tell us much.
Let’s be crystal clear: Allowing name, image and likeness endorsement money, in some form or fashion, is the correct thing to do. That train left the station years ago. The past reasons given for not allowing athletes to benefit from this just aren’t that compelling.
Beyond that, schools collect millions of dollars off athlete performance. It’s high time the athletes get more than what their scholarship and cost-of-attendance stipend includes.
There will need to be protections against athletes getting themselves into financial situations with shady outfits seeking something unscrupulous in return. And there’s a question of how athletes will balance school, athletics and new potential outside responsibilities.
But that’s part of adult life. That’s the point of college: to prepare students for what’s next, not shield them from it.
We live in an age of gigantic coaching salaries and nine-figure athletic department budgets.
Soon, we may be living in an age where college athletes have the ability to be compensated for their star power. Regardless of your feelings toward the NCAA, that's a positive development.
But ... #BREAKING. Questions still remain. Many questions.
On the surface, this all looks wonderful. Inside the process, though, is where this initiative will either flourish or flounder.
The NCAA’s Board of Governors, the group that made recommendation, sent out a release Tuesday was short on specifics for how this works. But of those statements that were included, let’s try to discern what that actually means:
NCAA bullet point No. 1: Maintain priority education.
What that may mean: This seems pretty straightforward. Calling in sick for a class won’t cut it after an all-day autograph session. You still have to meet eligibility standards.
Bullet point No. 2: Ensure rules are transparent.
What that may mean: Absolutely, and carry this a step further in having scholarship athletes disclose with whom they’re financially aligned.
Bullet point No. 3: Maintain clear distinction between collegiate and pro opportunities.
What that may mean: This isn’t "pay to play." Schools won’t be the ones shelling out dough to athletes. Outside vendors and companies will.
Bullet point No. 4: Compensation for performance is impermissible.
What that may mean: Jackpot. This is the gambling clause. No $100 handshakes allowed for shaving a point in a world where more states are legalizing sports wagering.
Bullet point No. 5: Protect the recruiting environment.
What that may mean: The NCAA doesn't want bidding among schools. No “we’ve got more endorsement opportunities than they do” bargaining. Unfortunately, we’ve already seen what havoc influential shoe companies can cause in basketball. (Of course, you’d imagine recruits will have a pretty good idea of which school’s boosters pony up the most. I guess you have to say this, but this doesn’t seem realistic in prevention.)
Bullet point No. 6: Prohibit inducements to select, remain at or transfer to a specific institution.
What that may mean: I’m guessing that transferring from one school to another will get be a lot tougher.
Again, what the NCAA did Tuesday is a positive step. It's a small step. And, yes, there still are many questions.
Some immediately on my mind …
- Who represents endorsement-seeking athletes? It won’t be the schools. Do agents creep into the situation?
- How is it determined what sort of cut athletes receive from apparel sales and video games? Can they develop a players' association to argue on their behalf for their percentage? Some of the language in the Board of Governors’ statement Tuesday suggests this may be something the NCAA fights against.
- If star athletes are approached by apparel companies for major endorsement deals, are they allowed to sign with any shoe company? Or just the one that their university has a deal with?
At the moment, few details are known. But be reasonable: This is the first step toward a massive change in college athletics.
If the NCAA has learned one thing from its past stumbles, however, it should be this: Scoot over and let college athletes have a seat at the table.
Iowa State columnist Randy Peterson has been writing for the Des Moines Register for parts of five decades. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, 515-284-8132, and on Twitter at @RandyPete. No one covers college sports in Iowa like the Register. Subscribe today at Des Moines Register.com/Deal to make sure you never miss a moment.