California Makes Bid to Get All the Good Football Players

We're number one! That is . . . we will be if SB-206 passes.Jordon Kelly/Icon SMI via ZUMA

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Here’s the latest from the leaders of the resistance:

The Fair Pay to Play Act, approved by the state Senate in May, now moves to the Higher Education Committee….NCAA rules bar athletes from being compensated for use of their names, images or likenesses. While the bill would not allow schools to directly pay athletes, athletes would be able to receive compensation from outside sources — for example, from a video game company or for signing autographs or memorabilia.

If this bill passes, it wouldn’t take effect until 2023: “That provides the NCAA time to make changes to its rules and California leeway to introduce future legislation if changes are needed to ensure schools are not penalized, said Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), who co-authored the bill.”

That’s too bad. It would be great if it took effect immediately. Can you imagine? Pretty much every top football and basketball recruit in the country would suddenly head to California at light speed. Alabama and Ohio State and Clemson would find that not a single top high school player in the entire nation had any interest in playing for them.

This would leave the NCAA with three choices: (a) allow California schools to win everything, (b) expel all California schools, or (c) cave in. I hardly need to say that (a) would be totally unacceptable, so that leaves (b) and (c). Which would it be? A separate California league that was semi-pro and got all the good players, or caving in? The only real option is to cave in.

So why put it off? Just do it now and force the NCAA’s hand. I’m wishy-washy on the whole notion of paying college players, but I have no objection at all to college players being able to make money for themselves however they want. And the NCAA is such a fundamentally corrupt enterprise that I’m also in favor of doing anything possible to make their lives miserable. Just do it.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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