As you probably know, in addition to not being compensated for athletic performance, college athletes are also prohibited from profiting off of their likeness in any way. Meanwhile, the NCAA gets to take Scrooge McDuck-type dives into their piles of money.
If California state Senators Nancy Skinner and Steven Bradford get their way, the NCAA is going to have a big decision to make. Skinner and Bradford brought a bill forward in February that would prevent colleges and universities in California from punishing athletes (revoking scholarships, eligibility, etc.) for making money off of their own likeness and notoriety.
The bill took another step forward on Tuesday, passing in the Committee on Higher Education with a 9-0 vote in favor of the bill. The bill could potentially pass through the appropriations committee and pass an assembly-wide vote in August, needing only a signature from the governor to become a law.
The NCAA came out against this bill early on, threatening to disallow these institutions from post season play if ineligible players (by NCAA standards) compete. However, California’s leaders do not seem ready to back down.
“I don’t take too fondly to threats to the state of California regardless of where they come from,” Jose Medina, the chairman of California’s Committee on Higher Education told ESPN.
The NCAA has asked for the vote to be delayed so that they can investigate possible ramifications of the new law, but it appears to be moving forward as quickly as possible. However, the way the law is written, it would not go into effect for three years after being passed in order to give the NCAA time to get its affairs in order.
If this law is passed, it would certainly force the NCAA into making a decision. Would they stick to their guns and prevent schools like USC and UCLA from playing post season games? Or will they come up with a solution that allows all student-athletes to profit off of their own likeness?
It is also worth considering that other states may move in this direction to further force the NCAA’s hand once California puts it into place. Can you imagine how the NCAA would react if North Carolina proposed this bill and both Duke and UNC were in danger of being banned from March Madness?
Your move, Mark Emmert.
Read more about what California legislators had to say about this bill to ESPN here.