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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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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