The ongoing national debate about paying college athletes has led to California setting the pace for progressiveness.
Earlier this year, state legislators voted -- by an overwhelming 31-4 margin in California's Senate -- to allow student-athletes to be able to profit off their name, image and likeness (NIL). This won't mean anything to most current college athletes, because the statute wouldn't kick into effect in 2023. There are still a few more policy-making hoops to jump through, but California appears set to be a game-changing agent in the world of amateurism.
Unless the NCAA can convince it otherwise.
There's a fascinating issue coming to a head here. USA Today reports that NCAA President Mark Emmert recently made an overture via written letter to two chairpersons, imploring California's State Assembly leaders to reconsidering the timeline on its forthcoming regulations.
Emmert's reasoning is that California's lawmakers could wind up inadvertently triggering ineligibility for in-state California student-athletes. The reason is simple and obvious: NCAA rules currently don't allow for players to profit off their own achievements, abilities, personalities, marketing -- anything -- while in school. Specifically, players and/or programs could be eliminated from NCAA-championship participation. That goes for both conference tournaments and national playoffs.
This applies to essentially every NCAA sanctioned-sport with the exception of high-level FBS football, which for nearly four decades has run its bowls and national-championship configuration outside the NCAA's purview.