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TCU AD ‘Worried’ About Fair Pay to Play Act

Jason Scott

California’s Legislature unanimously passed legislation that would pave the way for collegiate student-athletes to earn money from their name, image and likeness. 

It’s a law that has potentially wide-ranging effects, and it’s caught the attention of not just the NCAA, but of athletic directors in other states. One of those ADs, TCU’s Jeremiah Donati, is less than enthused about the idea. 

Donati told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the legislation concerns him, saying that proper regulation of how student-athletes market themselves and make money could become difficult, if not outright impossible. 

Donati outlined a scenario in which athletic department boosters could funnel money to student-athletes under the guise of promoting a local business. 

“Some big-pocket donors can say, ‘We’re going to pay our players $100,000 to promote Joe’s Taco Shack,’  Donati told the Star-Telegram, “Then we’re back in the funny business again. I’m really nervous about this. I don’t know how you can regulate this.

“This could potentially destroy everything we know and love about college sports. I am absolutely a huge opponent of it.”

Donati isn’t the only one. Despite the legislation gaining steam in California, many of that state’s own college athletic directors have voiced their opposition to it, as well. 

Some of that opposition no doubt comes from a threat made by the NCAA, saying that any school that allows its student-athletes to receive money in the ways allowed by the legislation would be in violation of NCAA bylaws and thus be ineligible for postseason events. 

“It has the potential to be a wild, wild west situation, which is scary as an athletic director,” Donati told the Star-Telegram

The California legislation, formerly known as the Fair Pay to Play Act, is awaiting action from Gov. Gavin Newsom. If it becomes law, the change wouldn’t go into effect until Jan. 1, 2023.

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