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NCAA Board Op-Ed: Bill Would Hurt College Sports

Jason Scott

Three members of the NCAA Board of Governors in an op-ed argue that allowing collegiate student-athletes to market themselves would create an unfair landscape, making “the level playing field impossible.”

Sue Henderson, Gary Olson and David Wilson — presidents of New Jersey City University, Demen University and Morgan State University, respectively — each sit on the NCAA Board of Governors and co-authored the op-ed arguing against California’s Senate Bill 206, formerly known as the Fair Pay to Play Act.

The bill, they argue, would have a negative impact on student-athletes in California and around the country by creating an untenable situation in which athletes in California would be banned from NCAA competition.

In addition, the trio expressed concerns about injecting professional agents into an already complex and dynamic recruiting environment.

The bill, which passed the California Legislature unanimously and is awaiting action by Gov. Gavin Newsom, has an effective date of Jan. 1, 2023, but the op-ed authors say that the legislation is likely to “cause confusion among prospective and current student-athletes and our membership almost immediately if it hasn’t already.”

“Schools and coaches outside the state will use the possibility of California schools being unable to compete in NCAA competitions to recruit prospective student-athletes away from the state,” the op-ed reads.

The op-ed concedes the need for some reforms, and points out that the NCAA is best equipped to make them. The body has appointed a working group to study ways by which student-athletes may monetize use of their name, image and likeness in a way “consistent with the NCAA’s core values, mission and principles.”

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