“This is a major problem for the NCAA,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said. “It’s going to initiate other states to introduce similar legislation. And it’s going to change college sports for the better by having now the interests of the athletes on par with the interests of the universities.”
Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington and Colorado are discussing similar bills. Newsom referred to SB206, a bill that achieves the novice athletes — yes, the athletes — can also profit from their name, likeness and image.
Fearing the inevitable, in June NCAA president Mark Emmert wrote the California state assembly and implored it to allow the NCAA more time to consider the bill’s impact. Hogwash. In addition, Emmert warned if the bill becomes a law schools will be ineligible to compete in NCAA competitions and the law deemed unconstitutional. To paraphrase Martin Luther King, this NCAA conceived indentureship is on its deathbed. The only question: How expensive will the NCAA make its funeral?
How constitutional is it to allow high school hockey and baseball players to turn professional after they graduate but collude with the NBA to force high school basketball players to attend college for one year? Who does that rule benefit? In fact, at first glance the rule seems a restraint of trade. Black’s Law Dictionary defines an illegal restraint of trade as a contract that is illegal by attempting to damage another person’s opportunity or ability to carry on in business.
When the FBI operation implicated players, coaches and apparel executives, the NCAA commissioned a panel — of course — to investigate and recommend changes to improve NCAA basketball. The panel recommended players be allowed to consult agents or other professionals to asses their prospects while retaining their eligibility, recommended cheating coaches get nailed with lifetime bans and abolish one and done.
Commission chairwoman Condoleezza Rice said no one should be forced to go to college.
“As soon as the legal framework is clear, we’ll develop a new policy on name, image and likeness,” Rice said.
These recommendations were published on May 9, 2018.
In 2013, ThinkProgress.org reported ESPN basketball analyst Jay Bilas accessed the NCAA merchandise shop and typed Manziel then boom, a No. 2 Johnny Manziel Texas A&M jersey appeared. Intrigued, Bilas typed other player’s name whose jerseys also appeared.
Bilas tweeted his findings; NCAA president Mark Emmert admitted it appeared hypocritical. Really? They attached elite athletes’ names to numbers and bolstered jersey sales, which sold for $49.95 to $89.95. The NCAA disabled the search box within hours.
This incident proved the NCAA’s courtroom assertions no connection existed between a player’s name and his or her jersey were false. Huh.
“To claim the NCAA profits off student athletes’ likeness is pure fiction,” NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson said.
However, in a July 2003 internal email NCAA director of corporate alliances Peter Davis wrote, “We don’t actually use player names, but we use all the attributes and jersey numbers of the players.”
Thus when college basketball fans watched an EA Sports video and No. 33 drained a hook shot, it was Lew Alcindor. When No. 23 roared down the baseline, mouth agape, it was Michael Jordan. When No. 15’s crossover dribble reduced his defender to a collapsed heap, it was Kemba Walker. As fans, we knew all along.
The NCAA changed from the BCS format to the College Football Playoffs, expanded the NCAA basketball tournament from eight teams to its current 68 teams and sanctioned conference championship games. The NCAA readily made those changes. Of course, the changes enriched the NCAA.
NCAA, authorize athletes to capitalize on their name, image or likeness.