In stunning development, Mark Emmert not a fan of NIL movement; NCAA prez says California law ‘just a new form of professionalism’

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And here I would’ve thought the man in charge of an organization whose goal is to better the lives of student-athletes would be in favor of a movement that would better the lives of student-athletes.  Silly me.

As the train they should’ve been engineering years ago comes barreling toward them in the here and now, the NCAA saw the most “existential threat” to its existence realized earlier this week when California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act, which, beginning Jan. 1, 2023, guarantees student-athletes in the Golden State will have the right to market their name, image, and likeness without fear of recrimination from NCAA member institutions.  In the months leading up to that signing and in the days after, nearly a dozen other states indicated they were in some form or fashion in the process of crafting similar legislation, with the promise of additional states climbing along for the NIL ride as well.

In an exclusive interview with the Indianapolis Star, NCAA president Mark Emmert made his first public comments since the legislation was signed into law.  On the one hand, Emmert sounded open to the concept of NIL…

… there is broad-based support for the things the NCAA is already doing around name, image and likeness.

… and that these are areas in which The Association can improve…

We have 1,100 member schools and after talking to a full cross-section of presidents, athletic directors, the vast majority of them all see and recognize this is an area where we need to continue to evolve our rules. We spent the past decade improving as students’ needs changed and made great strides in that direction. Here is another opportunity to address another change going on in the lives of students. People aren’t putting their head in the sand, in fact the contrary.

… while even going so far as acknowledging the NCAA should’ve gotten out in front of this issue a decade ago (ya think???)…

You always want to be more proactive on any of these issues. Do I wish it had been started 10 years ago? Sure but the fact is we were not in a place where we could do it.

… before sliding right back into the tried and true trope of the NCAA, whose members make billions upon billions of dollars annually and whose coaches make millions upon millions annually off the backs of student-athletes, fighting against the inexorable march toward professionalism in collegiate athletics…

This is just a new form of professionalism and a different way of converting students into employees. (They may be) paid in a fashion different than a paycheck, but that doesn’t make them not paid.

Yeah, that’s not even remotely correct.  The students forming a union to collectively bargain for their rights, that is converting students into employees.  What this would do is allow student-athletes the right to profit off their own names, images and likenesses, just as any English or music major can do while they are still enrolled in school.  That’s all it is, nothing more.  You’ve allowed what was a molehill a few years ago to turn into a mountain that you simply can’t successfully climb, all in an effort to keep your thumb firmly pressed on an underpaid group of individuals who are in large part responsible for the burgeoning financial windfall college football has realized over the past decade.

Besides, given the choice, wouldn’t member institutions prefer athletes profiting off themselves rather than unionizing and inevitably eating into their own (immense) profits?

Title IX a half-century ago didn’t lead to doomsday for collegiate athletics as prophesied.  Hell, just a few years ago, increased stipends were going to lead to college football Armageddon according to some; they didn’t… and this won’t either — with the eventual help of the federal government, of course.