Fair Pay To Play Act Puts Full Court Press On NCAA
Speaker 1: 00:00 Well, many college coaches are in large salaries. The athletes under their guidance are paid in accolades, scholarships, and the drive for championship glory. Now, California is changing the game of collegiate sports with a fair pay to play act. The bill would allow college athletes to cash in on endorsement deals and the use of their likeness, which is currently against NCAA regulations. The bill of waits, governor Gavin Newsome signature and here to talk about what this could mean for student athletes is Alicia Gwynn widow a basketball great. Tony Gwynn, who herself was a college athlete. And when Simon USD school of law, adjunct law professor who had a role in crafting California's fair pay to play act, welcome to you both. Thank you. So Lynn, I'll start with you. What would California's fair pay to play act to do? If it is signed into law? Speaker 2: 00:51 It would allow a all California based college students, uh, who play intercollegiate sports to monetize their name, image and likeness. That would mean they could have a Nike contract. That would mean if they had some YouTube things up, they could, uh, they could benefit from that Instagram accounts. Uh, you know, do you know commercials for Cadillac dealers? You name it. They, they could basically take advantage of the rights that all their fellow students have. Because if a kid down the hall of course was an artist, uh, he could be monetizing his rights for all four years he was at school. But the athletes are currently not permitted to by NCAA laws. So what the act does is it, it simply instructs the California schools to allow their students these rights, which are provided by, by California law already. But the college has taken them away in exchange for letting them play ball. So they're telling them, don't do that. Don't take them away. Speaker 1: 01:49 So what prompted this legislation? Speaker 2: 01:51 Well, uh, I mean it's a complicated story. I wasn't there at the creation in the room, but I wrote an editorial for the San Francisco Chronicle urging this. I teach sports law. People fight about whether the players should be paid salaries, whether they should be able to monetize their name, likeness and image, whether they should just play for the glory of the school or the scholarship they get. And I was sort of a moderate. I thought they should get the name, image and likeness money and they should not get salaries cause I saw a lot of complications with the salaries and I wrote a piece in the San Francisco Chronicle saying exactly that. And then later at one in the UT saying exactly that couple of months later when some other things that happened. And lo and behold, Nancy Skinner, who's a a state Senator from Berkeley, uh, put in a bill a little later than what I wrote, saying exactly the same thing. Speaker 1: 02:43 And Elisia you ran track right here at SDSU and your husband, Tony Gwen, was a collegiate athlete as well. And your children. What are your thoughts on this legislation? I, I'm loving the legislation because people don't understand that scholarship money can only go take you far. You know, and I have known athletes who could not function well because they needed food to eat. We all reminding of the young man who was at Florida and he got caught stealing and he was stealing because he said he was hungry. And I loved this act. And I, and I hope it passes because I think the college students need to be in charge of their own likeness and their imaging. You know, I'm in charge of my husband's image and likeness and I think they should be in control of it and I think they should be able to make money off of themselves. And let me ask you both this question because, uh, one big argument against this has been as soon as you do this past this type of legislation, the competitiveness of collegiate sports goes away. Do you believe that to be true? Do you think that's a legitimate argument? I think that it would create more competitiveness because everybody is gonna work harder and you know, they're not going to just give you a contract to do a commercial just because they're going to do it because you possess that quality of being a player. Speaker 2: 04:11 Yeah. I, I agree with Alicia. I don't think that it interferes with competitiveness. A, what they're really talking about on the other side of this debate is competitive balance. You know, they don't want the same schools to win every year. Although you notice Alabama and Clemson are pretty good at football every year under the current system. And Duke and Kentucky are pretty good at basketball every year under the current system. So I'm not sure what we're protecting, but really the genius of this is that if a a 17 year old, a high school athlete has great talent and he's being scouted, recruited by everybody, uh, he could go to any school he wants to and do the same monetization of his rights. Zion Williamson, uh, you know, had 2 million Instagram followers when he graduated from high school. Uh, he could've gotten, if, if this rule was in effect, he could have gotten a big Nike contract and a big Instagram check if he went to San Diego state, if he went to USD, he could've gone any way. You didn't have to go to Duke. Now the players kind of have to go to the big schools in order to make a big splash and hope to get a big pro contract. But it almost, it almost equals the playing field equalizes the playing field because the, the money is, uh, is portable. Anywhere you go if you're good. Speaker 1: 05:23 Does it give California and unfair recruiting advantage? Speaker 2: 05:27 Well it would, it would if, if California passed the law and no one else did anything. But this law is, it's a very moderate law and not only does it provide for salaries but it doesn't go into effect for three years until 2023 and I think everybody's expectation is that somehow some way, uh, this is going to become the law in all 50 States or a compromise is going to be worked out. There's laws pending like this, identical or similar in South Washington state, Colorado and this week New York. And I don't think the world is going to go forward with some States allowing this in some States, not because it sure would give California advantage. Zine would have played someplace in California. He played at, you know, San Diego state or Berkeley or Stanford or UCLA or some place. Why not? Speaker 1: 06:17 If they started to introduce this, this fair pay to play act, do you think that there would be a difference in how much money a, say the men's basketball team makes versus the women's basketball team? Um, I, I don't know that would change it, but it would change the face and the surface of the students. You know, being that they're are able to do a lot of things that they're not able to do, they're able to take care of their living expenses, you know, because those scholarship money, that's great. Get it. I don't think the NCAA has gotten it yet. That is not about them. It's about the players. Yes, they regulate the rules and the laws and stuff, but they haven't gotten it yet that nobody's coming to see the NCAA. They're coming as to see the students who play under the NCAA. Speaker 2: 07:09 Jade, I think that the male female thing, it plays two different ways. I think. No doubt. Again, just using Williamson as an example or to attack Livo loud plays, quarterback for the, for the, uh, Alabama. They're going to get the biggest deals. If this was, if this was the law today, they would get the biggest deals. There aren't any female athletes who would get a deal as big as theirs, but there are female athletes who will never earn a nickel off of their exceptional athletic skills because professional opportunities are so little. But if they played, for example, soccer at the university of North Carolina, that's a very popular sport there. They win the national championship half the time. They could be earning checks for four years in college. Again from shoe companies, they could be doing camps and teams for youth. They can be doing all kinds of things and that's their only opportunity to earn. Speaker 2: 07:57 They're going to have to go get a, you know, they'll go get a normal job when they get out of there. Unless the, unless they're good enough to be on the national team, which not very many people are. Hey, they could win a women's world cup a couple of times. They could. I mean, when I testified on the, on the bill up in Sacramento, the woman who testified before me had been a rower at Berkeley and she had a partial scholarship, not even a full, and she had no money. And she said, if I could have done this, I could've gotten $1,000 here and $500 there just from rowing clubs and other people. Cause I was pretty well known. She was kind of modest. She didn't say that she went to Olympic gold medals later in her life. So she was real good. But she never earned a nickel from, from her, uh, from her fame during her time at, at Cal because she couldn't. And that, that put her essentially in the position Alicia is talking about is like, how do I pay the rent? Where do I get my next meal? Speaker 1: 08:49 So how much do students stand to gain with this legislation? I think they, uh, gain a lot, you know, being in charge of your own name, likeness and image says a lot, especially those who are playing at a higher level and are popular. But even those who are not, I think even with the the woman movement, I think it's going to get better. And so even just the ones that are not that great, what kid possess quality and could help accompany with a commercial or something like that. You can't beat that. Speaker 2: 09:26 I mean, it's really hard to know where this is going to go. I think it's all good, but whether the money is going to be helpful to students or really helpful or gigantic, it's a market. You're just going to have to put it out there and see what happens. It's like, you know, how many iPhones could Apple sell? Well, but I'm out there and we see. Right, but I think anybody who tells you they know this is going to be huge, or they know this is going to be sort of modest. I think they're making it up as they go along because it's never, never been allowed to happen. Oh, Elisia Gwen and Lynn Simon, it's been a pleasure. Thank you so much for joining us. Thank you for inviting me.