2020 presidential candidate advocates NCAA paying players


The stick to sports crowd is going to have to take today off.

Hot on the heals of the NCAA making a few waves by instituting new rules concerning agents and prospects in another revenue sport, a 2020 presidential candidate has wandered into the fray by criticizing the folks in Indianapolis regarding a much bigger subject that strikes fear into the hearts of every seasoned administrator: paying the players.

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang released a new plan on Wednesday calling for just that, particularly calling out payments for Division I football players:

“The NCAA should accept the reality that certain of its sports have become entertainment properties and the athletes should be compensated accordingly. This is particularly true for Division I Men’s Football and Men’s Basketball,” Yang wrote on his website. “We should create a new type of college athlete—“Performer athlete”—who is entitled to market-based compensation. This would not affect the status of any other student-athletes nor the tax-exempt status of the university. However, each university with a “Performer athlete” would be required to start an affiliated taxable for-profit entity through which both corporate sponsorships and Performer athlete salaries would flow.

“Paying athletes in certain sports would lead to more resources going to the players who are both the main attraction and putting their bodies on the line each game.”

Yang also calls for the opening up of NCAA rules related to athletes using their names/images/likeness. Something along those lines is already being explored — both in court and through a new committee — but as with most things regarding presidential politics, the hope is that this gets fast-tracked after November 2020.

Such a position probably isn’t too surprising to hear from a long-shot candidate for the top job in the country (and one who has an economics background to boot) but it will be interesting to see if Yang’s stance spreads to other candidates in the crowded field for the Democratic nomination. We’ve already seen current politicians in Washington start to become more vocal about the NCAA’s policies and it sounds like this is going to be a trend that continues to spread over the coming months.

Who knows if it will lead to any sort of impact on football players in the future but it’s pretty clear that the drum beat for paying players won’t be slowing anytime soon.